Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled When Its Preferable To Lead With Your Face

In my adult softball league, head-first slides are reserved for those goofy yahoos who take things way too seriously; the ones who wear full baseball uniforms and keep stats on a clipboard. If you're a head-first slider, you probably also drive a Prius and have a girlfriend named Bunny. But now we come to find out that the head-first slide is actually superior to the feet-first variety in many ways. Wow.

The reasons that it's faster to lead off with your noggin all have to do with physics. Specifically, it's a matter of the player's center of gravity (or center of mass) — essentially the point where gravity exerts its tug. For most people, their center of gravity is right around the stomach area, Peters said. Whenever you leave the ground, no matter which end of your body you lead with, your center of gravity will move forward with the speed (and momentum) you left the ground with, Peters explained. Two factors make you reach the base sooner if you dive head-first, Peters told LiveScience. One is that your arms are lighter than your legs, which means that as your body rotates, your arms are going to extend out farther than would your legs. Also, because your feet are still pushing off the ground as you dive, you can get a little extra acceleration. If you slide feet-first, your feet will dig into the ground instead, slowing your motion, Peters said.


Of course the article, in Live Science, refers specifically to baseball, and doesn't really differentiate between slides at different bases. I still say head-first slides at first base are only for guys named Biff who also pop their collars and root for Duke. In Baseball, Head-First Slides Are Best [Live Science]

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