slide step?

looking for advice. my son plays on a 11u travel team and is the teams #1 my question is what is the opinion on the slide step when there are runner’s on. when he slide steps he always seems to throw balls and loses speed. from the windup he’s dominate, spots the ball well and throws strikes. I’ve told him don’t listen to the coach (I know) but to relax and to go thru his normal motion and stride and to not worry about the baserunner. if you attack and get the batter who cares about the runner he can’t hurt you. thank’s for any advice.
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The big advantage of using the slide-step with runners on base is that the runner(s) can’t get a good jump on the pitcher and therefore the possibility of a steal is cut down considerably. Also, with a runner or runners on base (except with the bases loaded) the pitcher has to pitch from the set position, coming to a full stop of one second before delivering the pitch if he doesn’t want to be called for a balk!
It is, therefore, essential that the kid, regardless of whether he’s throwing from the full windup or from the stretch, gets his whole body in motion, driving off the legs, the hips and the torso to get the momentum he needs. You might want to work with him on maintaining that arm motion and arm speed when pitching from the set position. I’ve seen a lot of pitchers make the mistake of slowing down said arm motion and arm speed when throwing from the stretch, and that leads to disaster in the form of extra-base hits—something to be avoided.
I for one used the slide-step all the time when I pitched, because amazingly I found that I could increase my speed in delivering pitches to the plate. There have been pitchers, such as Allie Reynolds, who did this—and Reynolds’ fast ball was clocked at better than 100 miles an hour! :slight_smile: 8)

Slide steps have always been tricky in my experience. There are positives and negatives.

I think you’re right in first realizing that whatever motion a pitcher chooses to go to the plate with, it can’t reduce the quality of pitch to the hitter. The hitter is the biggest threat always, and the runner can only get second.

On the other hand, to borrow a phrase from a former coach of mine, “you can’t let this turn into a track meet!”.

The slide step can work very effectively in holding runners as Zita noted, but it can also be effective to give another look to the hitter too. Josh Beckett and Pedro Martinez come to mind. After doing a normal leg kick and pitch, they might follow it up with a slide step. This is particularly effective when they do a slide step fastball after a curveball, very big variance and messes up a hitter’s timing. I’ve seen Beckett make some hitters look pretty stupid after doing that.