Another softball season is here and you’re faced with teaching your faster players to slap. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task, follow 3 simple steps and let me help you.
In theory, the running slap is a dangerous weapon. The lefty hitter hits the ball on the ground and creates chaos with her speed. Let me help you simplify how to teach this tricky skill.
Every softball coach wants great pitching, but once you’ve played against a team with great speed, you suddenly realize how difficult playing solid defense can be. Running slappers have turned softball on its head by making the routine play, anything but routine. I like to say that slappers make the defense throw and catch faster than they can throw and catch. And we all know what happens when our players rush on defense – nothing good comes of it!
But how do you teach someone to slap whose never slapped before?! If you’re in this situation then let me help you with an eClinic I’ve created that takes you through the 3 simple steps to the running slap (Teaching the Running Slap), and shows you in detail the keys to each step and drills to help you practice them.
Anytime you can simplify something it makes it easier to learn. This holds true for the running slap. While the running slap looks complicated, there are really 3 steps to it so let’s quickly check them out:
- Point – Batter’s start with their feet facing homeplate, and yet slappers need their feet facing forward (or at least toward shortstop) to enable them to run. So step #1 is to have your slappers turn, or point the toes of their front foot toward the shortstop.
- Explode – Step #2 is for the slapper to explode her back foot forward toward the shortstop, which means this stride needs to be long, fast and toward the inside line of the batter’s box. This is also called the “crossover” step.
- Contact – Actually contacting the ball is step #3, and that happens about the same time that the back foot – or crossover step – hits the ground.
The 2 pictures to the right show the slapper in the contact position, from the front and the side view. You can see how she’s got her eyes locked on the ball, how her crossover stride has landed on or near the batter’s box line and how she’s contacting the ball as her stride hits the ground.
Allowing your faster players to already be running when they hit the ball better enable them to use their speed and to create chaos within the defense.
- If you’re looking for more details in helping you teach the running slap then check out our eClinic: Teaching the Running Slap