How to Do a Power Slap in Softball
Most slappers are known for their ability to run out base hits in the infield, not for their ability to crush the ball. But with runners in scoring position and the game on the line, a regular slap may not always cut it. In these special cases, a power slap comes in very handy.
There are two common ways slappers learn how to power slap. The first way is to simply swing harder and on a flatter plane, and the second way is to take a different approach to the ball. The rest of this guide will discuss both options.
Swing Harder & Straighter
Some slappers naturally learn how to power slap as they develop a stronger swing. For many new slappers, swinging from the left side of the box is incredibly unnatural, and simply being able to make contact can be a challenge. But like everything else, with experience comes confidence. Once a slapper has a season or two under her belt, she’ll gain a familiarity with slapping and a newly found boldness in the box. This usually translates into being able to swing harder (keeping the footwork unchanged) when runners are in scoring position in an attempt to score them.
For these types of slappers, the power slap will simply be a more powerful swing that is on a straighter plane (like swinging for a line-drive), finished with a high follow-through. If this description matches your style of slapping, follow the three steps below to get comfortable with the power slap:
- Time your footwork off the pitcher’s motion as you would for your regular slap. However, don’t wait for the ball to get deep near the back hip (as you would for a regular slap). Instead, time the pitch to make contact when the ball is in front of home plate (as if you were hitting away).
- On your last step, put more of your bodyweight behind your swing, driving straight into the ball. Throw your hands at the pitcher, not away from your body. Your swing will be on a flat plane, not downward. In essence, you aren’t trying to make the ball bounce in the infield — you are trying to hit it out of the infield.
- Turn your hips hard as you make contact and follow through high.
Know What You’re Doing
It’s especially important to know the difference between a power slap and a regular slap. Your regular slap is a downward slap in an attempt to pound the ball into the ground. If your power slap is simply a harder swing, but your footwork remains the same, you need to be fully aware of any transition in the box. If your coach is calling power slaps and regular slaps in the same at-bat, you have to be consciously aware of which type of slap you are doing. Take a breath between each pitch and tell yourself exactly what you are going to do. You don’t want to mix up your slaps.
Hot Tip: Keep Your Head Down
It doesn’t matter what type of slap you are trying to do, you won’t hit anything you can’t see! Always keep your head down and eyes on the pitch. And remember, don’t follow the ball after you hit it…run!
A Whole New Slap
The second way to power slap involves a completely different approach, coupled with a stronger swing. This will fully distinguish your power slap from any other slap.
For a regular slap, you simply run through the box in a fluid motion. For the power slap — whether with a three-step or two-step approach — you slow down your last two steps and time them perfectly with your swing. Essentially, you want your final step to be landing as you are swinging through the ball.
This approach allows you to “build up” your power as you approach the ball. As you take your final step, you will transfer all of that pent-up energy into your swing. The rhythm should be “step, step… step and swing!” A normal slap, on the other hand, would be “step, step, step, chop down.” It’s a good idea to get familiar with this pattern because you’ll need rhythm in the box to pull off this swing.
When you swing, swing as if you were trying to hit away for a line drive. Rather than trying to chop down on the ball and pound it into the ground, you will swing through the ball. Throw your hands at the pitcher, instead of away from your body; try to hit the pitch when it’s approaching the front of home plate. Don’t wait for it to get deep near your back hip. Then, as if you were hitting away, drive through the pitch with your last step, rotate your hips hard, and follow through high.
Power through It
When you are power slapping, you want to be mentally prepared, telling yourself that your swing is going to be harder and stronger than your normal slap. Whether you change your footwork or just swing harder, always anticipate a strike and react to a ball accordingly. And no matter what you do, know which slap you are trying to use. Mixing up different footwork and different swings is an easy recipe for disaster, so make sure you are in control.