So you’ve decided that you want to convert one of your players into a “slapper”, but you’re unsure what exactly that means and you clueless as to which of your players would be best suited for the position. Luckily you’ve stumbled upon this article and the answer to both of these questions will soon be revealed. First it is important to explain what exactly slap hitting is, and why it can be helpful to have a “slapper” on your team.
Slap hitting is when a player makes contact with the ball as they’re moving forward, enabling them to more quickly reach 1st base. This means “slappers” must hit from the left-handed batters box, so that they’re closer to 1st and can transition from hitting to running in one fluid motion. They want to get the ball into play on the left side of the field, so that they’re able to utilize their speed to get on base. Often slap hitters are used as leadoff hitters in order to get a player on base and pressure the opposing team. This can be especially effective because your “slapper” will typically be one of your fastest players, and so this puts you in a position to be aggressive and steal bases.
So besides speed, what other attributes should a softball coach be looking for in a player you are considering converting to a “slapper”. If they’re a natural left-handed hitter, that will help speed up the conversion process, as they will have to hit lefty when slapping. You also want players who do not have much “pop” in their hitting, which means they have limited power and hit more line drives than outfield shots. This will allow them to put the ball into play more often, increasing the chances they will get on base. If you are considering converting a right-handed hitter to a “slapper” they will need exceptional hand-eye coordination, but this is not recommended unless you are coaching at the college level.
One of the most important aspects of being a softball coach, like with any sport, is evaluating the talent of your team. Just because you would like to have a “slapper” on your team doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a player that can fill that role. Furthermore, unless you are coaching at the college level you should not be forcing any of your players into a role they don’t want. It is important to remember that your primary functions as a softball coach is to help your players grow as individuals and to help them have fun; don’t let your desire to win get in the way of that.