Slapping in Softball: How to Slap Hit

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Slapping in softball is a crucial skill that marks the difference between an average and an exceptional player. A blend of strategy, speed, and precision, slap hitting enriches the batter’s toolbox, enabling them to become a multi-threat at the plate. Ideal for left-handed hitters with swift footwork, mastering the art of slapping can drastically elevate one’s on-base percentage, making it an invaluable technique in softball’s fast-paced gameplay. This article dives into the essentials of slap hitting, from basic techniques to advanced strategies, promising to transform novices into adept slap hitters ready to challenge even the most seasoned infielders.

What Does Slap Mean in Softball?

Slapping in softball is a strategic batting technique primarily used by left-handed batters. The essence of slapping is to make a compact, controlled swing while moving towards first base, aiming to place the ball in a location that’s difficult for the infielders to make a play on. This tactic is effective in utilizing the batter’s speed, allowing them to reach base before the defense can react. The technique comprises several types of hits, including the soft slap, hard slap, and bunt slap, each serving different scenarios.

For instance, a soft slap involves a gentle, controlled swing aimed at guiding the ball towards a specific area of the infield, often to exploit gaps in the defense. Imagine a situation where the shortstop is playing deep; a soft slap towards that area can give the batter enough time to sprint to first base. The combined movement of stepping towards first base while executing the swing enhances the batter’s momentum, reducing the time it takes to reach the base. This approach requires precision and timing but can be exceptionally effective in advancing runners or securing a base hit.

How to Slap Hit in Softball

Step 1: Master the Stance

Before attempting to slap hit, adopt a balanced and slightly open batting stance. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with the front foot slightly ahead of the back foot to facilitate a quick start towards first base. Keep your knees slightly bent for better agility.

Step 2: Grip and Bat Position

Hold the bat lightly but securely with both hands, about an inch from the bottom. Position the bat so it’s almost parallel with the ground, ready to take a controlled swing. This grip and position will enhance your control over the bat and the direction of the ball.

Step 3: The Approach

As the pitcher begins their motion, initiate a controlled forward motion towards the pitcher. This involves a small step with your front foot followed by a quick shuffle of your back foot, bringing it closer to the front. Keep your eyes fixed on the ball, calculating its trajectory.

Step 4: Timing Your Swing

Begin your swing slightly before your front foot lands. The key to a successful slap hit is making contact with the ball while your body is in motion towards first base. Your swing should be compact and controlled, with the aim of making precise contact rather than generating power.

Step 5: Contact and Follow Through

Focus on making contact with the bottom half of the ball to induce a ground ball or a low liner, optimizing your chances of reaching base. After contact, continue your motion towards first base without a pronounced follow-through, allowing your speed to be your advantage.

Slapping in Baseball

In baseball, the technique of slapping, often associated with slap hitting or slap bunting, is indeed utilized by certain players, albeit it’s not as prevalent as traditional hitting techniques. Slapping involves making contact with the ball by quickly and deliberately placing the bat on the ball’s trajectory, aiming to guide it into play rather than swinging with full force for distance.

The popularity of slapping in baseball varies across different levels of play and individual player preferences. While some hitters incorporate slapping into their offensive strategy, others opt for power hitting or more conventional hitting styles.

Players who use slapping often do so for strategic reasons. It can be an effective tool to disrupt the defense’s rhythm, especially against pitchers with strong velocity or tricky breaking pitches. Slap hitters can use their speed to beat out ground balls or bunts, putting pressure on the opposing defense and potentially reaching base safely. Additionally, slap hitting can be advantageous in situations where a hitter’s primary goal is to advance baserunners or execute a sacrifice play.

However, despite its potential advantages, slapping isn’t universally embraced by all baseball players or coaches. Some hitters may prefer to focus on developing power hitting skills, while others may find slapping to be less reliable or conducive to their playing style. Additionally, mastering the timing and precision required for successful slap hitting can be challenging, leading some players to prioritize other aspects of their offensive game.

FAQ About Slapping

Is slapping in softball only for lefties?

While left-handed hitters are more commonly associated with slap hitting in softball due to the advantage of starting closer to first base, slapping is not exclusive to lefties. Right-handed hitters can also employ the slap technique, albeit with adjustments in their approach and footwork.

How do you teach slapping in softball?

Teaching slapping in softball involves focusing on fundamentals such as footwork, timing, and bat control. Coaches emphasize proper stance, stride, and hand positioning to maximize the hitter’s ability to make contact and utilize their speed. Drills and repetition help players develop the muscle memory required for consistent slap hitting.

Can you slap hit in 12U softball?

Yes, slap hitting can be taught and utilized in 12U softball. Many players at this level begin to learn and practice slap hitting techniques as part of their offensive repertoire, allowing them to use their speed and agility to their advantage on the field.

Can you be a right-handed slapper in softball?

While left-handed slap hitters are more common in softball, right-handed players can also become effective slappers with proper instruction and practice. Right-handed slappers adjust their approach to utilize their speed and timing to beat out ground balls and bunts, contributing to their team’s offensive strategy.

How do you defend a slapper?

Defending against a slapper in softball requires strategic positioning and quick reactions from the defense. Infielders may adjust their positioning to anticipate the direction of the ball, while outfielders must be prepared to cover potential gaps. Pitchers can also vary their pitch selection and location to disrupt the timing of the slapper’s swing.

Why is slapping in softball more popular than slapping in baseball?

Slapping is more popular in softball than in baseball due to several factors. Softball fields are smaller, and the game places a premium on speed and agility, making slap hitting an effective offensive strategy. Additionally, softball pitchers often deliver the ball underhand, providing slappers with a better opportunity to make contact and utilize their speed. The shorter distance to first base also favors slap hitting as a means of reaching base safely. Overall, the unique characteristics of softball make slap hitting a valuable skill for players and teams alike.


Slap hitting in softball is not just a tactic; it’s a meticulously honed skill that combines speed, precision, and strategy to maximize a player’s on-base potential. This technique demands rigorous practice and a strong understanding of softball dynamics, but the rewards of mastering it can significantly elevate a team’s offensive gameplay. Whether a player bats right-handed or left-handed, with the correct approach and mindset, slapping can be an effective weapon in their arsenal. Notably, the game’s inherent qualities, such as the underhand pitching style and the smaller field dimensions, further amplify the efficacy of slap hitting, justifying its popularity in softball over baseball.

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James Arnold
I'm James, and I live in Stanislaus County, California. I'm playing Baseball for many years, and I love this sport so much that I also encourage my kids (Danny and Sara) to play Baseball & Softball.