A slapper is a dangerous weapon in softball. The most successful college teams have at least one slapper in their lineup. What makes this style of hitting such a valued skill among college coaches?
What Is Slapping?
Slap hitters bat from the left side. Starting back in the box, the batter approaches the pitcher, with the goal of gaining speed before they contact the ball. The running start helps them reach top speed faster, and because the left batter’s box is closer to first base, the hitter moves to first base faster than the average right handed hitter.
Slap hitters do not usually hit for power. They are masters of bat control– their goal is to get the ball in play and beat it out to first. Slap hitters are usually the fastest players on the team, the lead off hitters, and the catalyst of the offense. They slap to get on base, steal, and score with the help of their power hitting teammates.
What Makes a Slap Hitter So Dangerous?
One simple stat: ON BASE PERCENTAGE. Slappers lead the team in OBP, and use their speed to score runs. The more they get on, the more successful the team is. Some slappers are fast enough, that simply getting them to scoring position will almost guarantee a run.
How are slappers getting on base so much? Besides their usually above average speed, they have four weapons at their disposal which put a lot of pressure on a defense. Slappers have usually master drag bunts, soft slaps, hard slaps, and a straight away swing. Therefore, they can step in the box, read the field, and put the ball down where the defense is not. Defense playing back by the base? Easy, drop a bunt. Third base playing way in ready to defend your bunt? Hard slap it right by them. Outfield in? Power slap away and drive it over their heads. Then slappers use their speed, forcing the defense to make a perfect play on the ball to get an out. Slappers are built to get on base and pressure defenses.
Should I Be a Slapper?
Are you fast? Are you not a typical power hitter? Do you tend to rely on bunts or beating out infield hits to get on base? Then slapping may be a good option for you. Many slappers are not natural lefties, and are converted specifically for slapping. Many are converted at a young age, typically around 12-14, but no age is too old to learn.
Interested in learning more? Do you want to be a slap hitter? CNC Fastpitch is here to help you learn!