Slappers don’t seem to be getting the advantage they should

Ever since we upgraded our cable package I’ve the opportunity to see a lot more fastpitch softball games on TV. Since most teams have at least a couple if not several slappers, I’ve had the chance to see many of them in action. It has led to an interesting observation.

My understanding of the advantage of slapping is that the hitter starts a couple of steps closer to first and gets a running start toward the bag. Now, the first part is a function of the setup of the field. The left-hand batter’s box is a little closer to first than the right-hand box, so no problem there.

It’s the second part that strikes me as odd. A lot of the slappers I’ve seen sort of walk to the front of the box, take a swing, then start running. As a result, they’re not really getting a running start. In fact, most seems to be pretty much standing in one spot when they make contact. So where’s the advantage. If they’re going to just stand there, why bother with the slapping technique? Might as well just set up in the front of the box and swing away.

Slapping is a difficult technique to pull off well. So if you’re going to go to that effort, might as well get the full advantage out of it. The more you can be at a full (or nearly full) run, the faster you’ll get up the line and the more pressure you’ll put on the defense. So despite what the old song says, run don’t walk when you slap.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on May 20, 2010, in Hitting. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Mike Thweatt

    There’s a fine line between just making contact and trying to beat the throw, and hitting the ball hard enough to keep the fielders a little honest. If you slap “on the run” you lose almost all of your power and the defense can cheat way up. The best slapper I ever saw was a senior on my freshman DD’s D1 college team. She could drive the ball into the gap and put a ton of pressure on the defense – if she got it into the OF and it wasn’t fielded quickly she was on 3B.So while it’s true that you don’t get the biggest advantage by not “running” at the ball, however you will probably get the best results.

    Like

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