In this article, we are going to take a look at the mechanics of slap hitting, explain how to teach it to youth softball players, and provide some useful drills to reinforce the skills in practice.
The result of slap hitting is exactly what you would think from the title. The batter is going to slap the ball.
This is a great strategy to use when a left handed batter is up at the plate. It works especially well when the left handed batter is a fast runner, has good eye hand coordination, and good discipline at the plate.
When the pitch is being made, the batter should leave her body in the same position but cross her front foot (for lefties that would be the right foot) back over the back foot (the left foot is now in front).
Then with crossed feet, the batter will take a good solid swing at the ball. She will try to direct the ball to a certain spot in the infield or through the infield. She will do this by stopping her bat at the contact point. This will create the slapping of the ball.
Now, as she is about to make contact, the batter should begin to move forward and out of the batter’s box. As she hits the ball, her hands should stop but the rest of her will keep moving. This will allow her to slap the ball and then attempt to beat the throw to first base.
Slap hitting can be used to try to get the batter on base or to try to advance a runner who is already on base.
The goal of the hitter is to slap the ball in a place that is farthest from the base where they don’t want the throw to go.
For example, if there are no runners on the base then the hitter would want to slap the ball into the hole between the shortstop and the third basemen, preferably to the shortstop’s backhand. However, if there is a runner on second base and the hitter wants to advance her to third base. The hitter would then try to slap the ball down the first baseline. This is the farthest distance from third base.
The final goal of slap hitting is to either hit the ball on a line drive or to make the ball bounce through the infield. If a fast player can slap the ball so that it bounces two times before it reaches the shortstops backhand, that hitter will reach base just about every single time.
Slap Hitting Drills
There are many drills that you can have your players perform in order to get good at slap hitting.
The first drill involves hitting off a tee just to get the feel of slapping the ball — the stance and the swing.
Slap Hitting with a Tee
All you need for this drill is a ball, a tee, a bat, and either a catch net or an open field to hit the balls into.
Purpose: The purpose of this drill is to get a feel for the body positioning with slap hitting. Also, a player will learn about how to directionally hit the ball using hand path and proper contact points.
Performance: The batter should begin with her feet crossed over. The tee should be moved around from the outside to the middle to the inside of the plate. The hitter should practice hitting the ball to different parts of the field. She should also practice hitting both line drives and bouncing balls.
Throughout the process of this drill, the hitter should begin to understand how and where to hit the ball to make it go to a certain spot in a certain way.
For example, to hit a line drive she would have to hit the ball in the middle while to make the ball bounce she would have to hit the top half of the ball.
For this drill you will need a bat, balls, a pitching screen, and a home plate.
Purpose: The purpose of this drill is to understand and develop proper timing and footwork for slap hitting.
Performance: The batter begins with her feet crossed over (in position to slap hit).A coach will be behind the pitching screen and will soft toss balls to the batter.
The batter will start toward the pitcher as the ball is soft tossed. The coach will call out where the batter should hit the ball and whether it should be a line drive or a bouncer.
The coach should look to make sure the batter comes straight forward and doesn’t step on the plate or run outside the batter’s box.
Next step: to really take advantage of the “short game” – you should check out our complete collection of softball baserunning drills.
Or, if you’re ready for the fast track, our Short Game Secrets online video clinic will immediately help your team manufacture more runs and win more games!