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NFCA Drill Of The Week: "Powher Sliding"

Name of Drill: Powher Sliding

Equipment Needed: Large area of nicely nowed grass works best, but is not critical to have; five or six sheets of thick corrugated paper cardboard (doublewall), approximately 30 inches by 48 inches in size; knee pads or sliding pads are helpful, but not necessary.

Explanation of Drill: To get started have the girls all line up in a long line. (On the first base line works well.) They should all be facing the outfield grass when they start. Then they start to learn a new dance step and it goes like this:

Have the players start to walk by stepping with their right foot, then left, then right. They should take normal good size steps, and after their last step onto their right foot, they should stop on their right foot/leg.

Each player should try to balance on her right foot/leg and "tuck" her left behind her right. Then each player should put her arms out like she is sleepwalking. Try to hold this position until all of the players can hold it. This is the same position the player will be in when she slides, except she'll be bent at the waist.

Go back to the starting point (first base line) and start again, only this time the dance goes like this: right, left, right, then "sit down" so that the player's right leg is relaxed, but straight out. Her left leg is tucked under her right and her arms are out in front of her just like they would be if she were sleepwalking.

Now, back to the start and add this: right, left, right, sit down and roll back (so both shoulder blades touch the ground and her right leg is long with the left leg tucked). Each player should then roll forward and try to stand up using forward momentum and blance only -- she cannot touch the ground with her hands. When the player is standing, have her put her arms in the sleepwalking position and tuck her left leg behind her right. Ideally, everyone will be able to hold their balance for a count of 1-2-3-4-5.

This gets the players familiar with using momentum to successfully complete a pop-up slide. Now we are ready to feel what it's like to tuck our left leg under our right quickly like we have to when we're in a situation that calls for us to slide.

Have all of the players sit down on their rear, legs out, back straight and with their arms in the sleepwalking position. The last one to get into the correct position gets doused with a squirt gun (or some other form of fun, including no consequence except being last).

Now, we are ready to try to slide on a slick surface. We use "slide-rites" sometimes, but most of the time, we jsut cut up five or six shees of cardcoard (30" x 48") and lay them down like cards on top of each otyher in the grass. Thus, when a player lands on them, they all slide together.

 

Some of the keys are:

Use socks only so the cleats don't go through the cardboard;

Land on both "cheeks" to avoid "strawberries";

Avoid wrist injuries by making sure the players' hands don't touch the ground.

We always ahve a "nurse" tht assists each girl as she lands. The nurse's job is to put her hand at the small of the back of each player as she begins her slide until she is comfortable sliding. The nurse also moves her hand up the player's back to make sure she doesn't hit her head on the cardboard and to ensure the players don't cushion themselves by putting their hands down.

 

There are many more variations to this drill, such as catching a tossed ball as the player slides, then pop-up and throw the ball at a target. We want to slide at every practice because it's the No. 1 cause of injury in girls' fastpitch softball.

And if you're wondering why we teach tucking the left leg under the right leg and not vice-versa, please send me an e-mail and I will tell you why.