Slap Hitting Fundamentals with Carie Dever-Boaz
Hi. I'm Carie Dever-Boaz. I'm here with JustBats.com. I've been a coach for 16 years at the collegiate level. I've coached at the high school and the travel ball level. And I am currently doing that as well. And I want to introduce you to the art of slapping. Slapping is just pure offense in fast pitch softball. It's something that a lot of baseball guys that come over to our sport struggle with 'cause they've never seen movement through the box to hit it. I call it pure offense because it's really not as much hitting as it is just offense. We want you to be our table setters. And for someone to do this, they have to have excellent balance, excellent bat control so that they can actually function doing this. In starting with this, one of the things that I always preach to with my kids is to make sure that they stand in the box where they would stand if they were hitting. 'Cause if I stand way back in the box for slapping and then I get up here for hitting, the defense is always gonna know what we're doing. And we really want to be a triple threat. Triple threat meaning I can swing for power, I can slap and look for a mishit, or I can drag, bunt, and use the short game. So we want to be a triple threat. So where you stand in the box needs to be relatively the same all the time. The next thing I'm gonna talk about is we're gonna do a progression drill. We're gonna go from walking to jogging to sprinting because the idea of slapping is to mishit the ball in the five-six hole, preferably, all right, and then keep moving. Never do it. So you're doing it on the run. Home to first is roughly 60 feet. And I say roughly 'cause when I put you on the left side of the plate and I get you moving through that box, and my first step going to first, I'm gonna be 58, 57 feet away. If you're Caitlin Lowe, which is one of the best in the world, and you run a 2.5, you don't even have to get the defense to make a mistake. But let's just say you're average, and you break a three going to first. All we're trying to do is mishit that ball and force the defense to be perfect. And if they're not, I'm at first. So I'm a table setter. I'm looking to get myself on base for people like Crystal Bustos and all those big power hitters to hit me in. Once again, we're setting up in that box the same as hitting. I want to start with the placement of the ball on that tee. It's really, really important. I call those railroad tracks. I always want them facing back for my slappers because we're gonna put a big spot on the top of the ball in practice so that they can see it. Pat Murphy from Alabama likes to call it a toupee, I heard. And I'm gonna look at trying to hit the top half of that ball or actually, the top one-third of the ball with the bottom one-third of my bat while I'm moving. So let's talk about our feet. Our feet are gonna be comfortable. I'm gonna be athletic. I'm going to look as if I'm hitting. The very first movement I'm looking for is my front foot to give me just a little bit of a slide, which will work for a timing. So I'm sliding it back. It's not huge. It's just a slide so that I'm clearing a pathway for my back leg to come forward and plant as I'm going forward. My plant foot is gonna be pointing roughly towards that five-six hole. Not perfect, not great, but right there towards that five-six hole 'cause that's where I'm wanting that ball to go. So once again, my front foot slides back to clear for my back foot. Back foot's gonna go down towards that front of the box. Towards that five-six hole. Now let's talk about our hands. When my back foot or my second step gets down, I want that bat to be dropped to the top leather. Why am I making that bat shorter? I'm looking for bat control. Everything I want to do is to be able to control a mishit or where I'm hitting that ball. I'm using the bottom third to the top third and getting that ball down on the ground. You've got lots of variations. Chops, taps, hard slaps. But I'm really gonna celebrate all the mishits. I want my slappers to mishit the ball. So let's talk about the first one. Just the progression to get it slow. My batters are set up. We're gonna do a walkthrough. So my foot slides. As my front foot goes back, my hands drop. As it plants, and I was a little early there, I'm gonna work on the top half of that ball all the way through. One of the things that you'll notice is as I come to that contact, my head or barrel of the bat is never gonna get in front of my hand. It's gonna stay behind 'cause I'm working towards that five-six hole. Let's do that one more time. Railroad tracks back. In the box so I look like I'm a hitter. Slide. Drop as my front foot comes out. And I'm looking at tapping it right to that five-six hole. Let's just keep going. The very next drill is that same drill. And please keep in mind I'm not a slapper. God did not give me foot speed. He gave me arm speed. So bear with me here. Same thing. I'm going to go through that exact same drill, but I'm gonna go a little bit quicker. Maybe 50%. So I'm here. Slap. Come straight through. Do it again. Remember, I'm looking at that top one-third of the ball with the bottom here. The barrel never gets in front of my hand. I'm going at 50%. Take it to that very next progression. And now we're going all out. All right? Quick review. Hands looking like I'm hitting. And I'm gonna go as quick as I can right through that ball. Remember, that ball's gonna be coming in at a good speed. And I'm looking at mishitting the ball in that five-six hole. Putting pressure on that defense. Once again, I'm not a slapper. I'm a righty hitter. So that's my best guess and my best drills for you in the progression of slapping and teaching your kids to have good bat control, taking advantage of that five-six hole. You got a kid with speed, put 'em on the left side and celebrate those mishits. Thanks.
Former Division One Head Coach and National Pro Fastpitch National Champion, Carie Dever-Boaz, explains the art of slapping and demonstrates a few progressions that are great for practice. There's no doubt Carie Dever-Boaz has a wealth of knowledge from years of experience as a player and a Division I coach. Watch and learn from one of the best in the game! If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us via JustBats.com Facebook or Twitter Page, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or our Toll Free Telephone: 1-866-321-BATS (2287).