Why Do Cricket Fielders Slide?

Reason Behind Every Time a Cricketer Slides in the Field

Do you notice how your favorite cricketers slide in the field in order to catch the cricket ball? Their suave and fluid movements as if they are just skating or gliding over an ice rink? Well, lucky for you, this article will be tackling the reason for their swift and finessed movements in the field whenever they play, how they train for the fluid movement on the field, the risk that comes with the sliding movement, and how to protect yourself to minimize health hazards and reduce the worsening of injuries.

What is a Slide Movement and the Reason for the Movement?

First of all, let us define what a slide is or most commonly called the ‘slide stop’. A slide stop is a popular movement that is used in cricket. If you are an avid fan of cricket or any other sport that uses the sliding or gliding movement such as football when players kick the ball or the goalkeeper prevents it from getting in the net, then you will know how awesome the players move on the field with much finesse, speed, expertise, and how driven they are to catch the ball. Once the cricket ball is tossed and starts rolling on the ground, the player will run to where the ball is heading. For right-handed players, the ball will be tossed to their left side, and vice versa for the lefties. The cricket fielders will intentionally slip or glide on the ground whilst catching the ball then in just before they fall completely on the field, the player will hurriedly prop their hand on the ground to prevent themselves from fully landing on the floor while simultaneously tossing the ball back to the opposite side. Some can actually smoothly prop themselves to stand up. Now, how awesome is that?

The reasons why cricket fielders slide, are somewhat obvious because if you were to put yourself in their position, playing competitively, you will always try your best to win. Speed is one of the factors that is needed in cricket which is why cricket fielders slide when they have to catch the ball in order to get to it before time runs out since according to footballers, sliding is actually faster rather than running and the abrupt stop of the feet to pick up the cricket is much slower as opposing to sliding, it allows you to let your bodyweight accelerate the speed of your sliding/diving on the slippery ground while your hand is closer to the ground, it gives you a chance to pick up the ball immediately. This is a smooth movement if you have perfected the practice. Another reason why cricket fielders slide is that it gives them a chance to abruptly toss the ball back to the opposite side. Think of it as like a subtle surprise attack. The sudden catch then tosses back would not give the opposite side a chance to prepare themselves to catch the cricket ball. 

How do Cricket Fielders Train for Sliding?

First and foremost, the sliding technique requires high levels of skills, extensive training, and next, you need to be really confident in order to execute the movement properly and to commit yourself to the ball fully. Yes, confidence plays a big role in a successful slide stop, because if you feel good about something, you will surely do great in it. So basically, physical and psychological aspects can actually influence your performance.

If you are still a beginner in cricket and you want to train for the sliding technique, you must practice on a soft surface first just like sand, a grassy field, or any soft area where you would really get hurt once you fell. You can also practice over a soft mat. Some cricket fielders actually train on a wet surface like a slip n’ slide or a vast mat filled with some water, about the level of their ankle to have smooth sliding.

Also See: How Many Umpires Are There in Cricket?

What are the Risks that Comes with Sliding Stops and How do You Protect Yourself?

If a player lacks the confidence, skills, and proper training for a dive or slide, chances are, they will be at risk for injuries. In this portion of the article, you will be educated about the possible risks and dangers when committing the slide stop technique.

Inexperienced or incorrect execution of the sliding stop technique could lead to serious injuries and could be the cause of a sudden retirement in a cricket fielder’s career in the sport. One of the injuries that are garnered by cricket fielders is the medial meniscus tear. A meniscus is a cartilage that is found in the knee. Its purpose is to stabilize the joint. The injury happens when a person suddenly changes the course of their direction, causing the meniscus to tear. In some other cases, the torn cartilage could actually dislodge the joints causing them to lock up and be stiff to try and move the knees.

Sure, inexperience or lack of proper training may be a factor in some injuries but that does not stop there, another factor that could lead to injuries for the player is the surface a cricket fielder is sliding plays a big role in acquiring injuries as well. Most players prefer sliding on the slightly damp ground because it is slippery and easy to work with instead of dry land, however, sliding on the moist or somewhat muddy ground could actually be harmful because there is a tendency when your feet would suddenly halt due to the clumping of moist sole on your shoes, causing your ankles to suddenly tweak or the sudden impact could cause a sprain, and this could lead to at least a four-month-long rest from the games. As opposed to the dryness of the land, not only that the dryness does not have a smooth ground to work with because it is dusty, dust pollens could get into your eyes, the tiny stones are sticking out on the surface which interferes with the fluidity of your movements, but the abrasiveness could also cause scratches on the skin. In conclusion to the surface preference dilemma, a grassy field with a little bit of moist is the best field to play cricket. The grass makes it easy to glide over, and it also serves as a cushion for the impact when the player stumbles onto the ground.

Injuries are unavoidable but the least everyone could do is to try to minimize or reduce the impact of potential risks and save yourself from the danger. First, always wear a knee guard or leg guard, and add some safety pads to provide cushioning on your knees and elbows, too. Caps could also help to protect your head just in case your whole upper body fully lands on the ground.

The Takeaway

The takeaway of this article is that despite how awesome it is to watch your favorite players on the field, you should know that it took them extensive training to make them the best player out there. If you want to follow your idols’ footsteps, just make sure you are entirely prepared and have to confidence to do what they can to avoid injuries and to always be at your best when doing something.


Main Image Source: Pixabay

Also See: Famous Cricket Umpires

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Dave P
Dave P
Be a little better today than yesterday.
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