An action in baseball taken by a baserunner, when advancing to a base, that involves sliding feet-first or head-first towards the bag in an attempt to beat a throw from a fielding player on the defensive team.
There are multiple strategies behind the use of the slide. Players will slide both during a force and a non-force play with different goals, depending on the situation. When stealing a base, the strategy behind the slide is to allow a runner to extend his body toward the base he is attempting to reach, while minimizing the area of his body that is subject to being tagged. In the case of a ground ball that may be turned into a double play, the lead runner will often slide feet-first in an attempt to distract or knock down the defender on the base in front of them, to prevent a throw that will record the second out. While most players attempting to slide safely will extend to touch the base, some slides take runners past a base (when a defender is blocking the path to it), forcing them to use their arms in an athletic manner to make contact with the bag.
Learning to slide properly is a useful and mandatory tool for most baserunners. The seamless motion of dropping into a slide is critical and must be accurate in order for a player to avoid leaving the bag once they have slid in safely. Sliding is also used at times by defensive players, mostly when fielding fly balls in order to increase their range, avoid obstacles, and to keep momentum towards the infield as they catch the ball.