Do you want to a be top-notch slap hitter like two-time Olympic softball player Natasha Watley? Then check out some of the tips and drills below.
This guide will come in handy whether you’re new to slap hitting or you have more experience.
Also, don't forget to check out the Slap Hitting Course by our Brick Dust University Professor Kayla Joyce. Kayla Joyce is a protege of Natsah Watley and shares her own tips & tricks as an elite level slap-hitter.
When it comes to slap hitting, think like Natasha and keep three simple things in mind.
- Why you’re slapping.
- Your basic slap hitting technique.
- How slapping affects the defense.
Why Do You Want To Slap Hit?
Being a good slapper gives you options, allowing you to put pressure on the defense in various situations. Simply put, slap hitting is highly strategic.
Good slappers have an arsenal of approaches that they can adapt, whether the defense is playing close or hanging back.
Simply memorizing the techniques to soft slap, hard slap, and drag bunt isn’t enough.
Slapping is a mental game. Keep in mind your objective, whether it’s moving baserunners or putting pressure on the defense. Your slap hitting will be more effective if you’re picturing your strategy.
Slap Hitting Drills
Of course, the strategic approach is only part of it. You need the skills to back it up! When in doubt, always go back to basics: footwork, timing, and hands. Here are three slap hitting drills you can practice.
Footwork is the foundation of slap hitting. Without solid footwork, you won’t get anywhere – literally! You can use this drill from Natasha Watley herself that will help you master your footwork. With a right-handed glove, take up your slapping stance at the plate. Have a coach or another player toss a ball toward you.
Catch the ball with your glove while moving your feet, going through your slapping footwork. Use this drill to get a sense of what your feet should be doing when you slap, and to work on your timing.
To work on hitting progression, try this simple drill.
With the ball on a tee, stand as far away from the plate on the edge of the batter’s box as you can. Take a step forward – left foot first for lefties, right foot first for righties.
Step into your swinging motion by bringing your other foot forward as you swing, making contact with the ball. This daily hitting drill will teach you how to be in touch with your lower half, and better control over your movements.
To work on your hands and your swing, take Natasha’s advice and practice your swing with a wooden bat. Unlike the first two drills, this one focuses on your swing.
Run through your footwork once, to get your feet in the right position. Then keep your legs stationary as your practice your swing. In this drill, you want to work on three things.
First, stop your swing on contact with the ball, don’t follow through like a regular swing.
Second, always keep the barrel of the bat behind your hands. Third, aim for the right spot on the ball – toward the top and back. If you make contact with the ball toward the front, you won’t get the bounce you need for a good slap.
Slap Hitting Tips and Advice
Here are a few more general things to keep in mind when running through your slap hitting drills or perfecting your technique.
Let the ball travel toward you, you never want to hit it while it’s still out in front of the plate. The first footwork drill is perfect for this.
Work on controlling your swing and not letting it control you; otherwise, you won’t get a good slap. Use the third drill to work on controlling your swing.
When it comes to your footwork, always think about covering more ground. Your movement is toward the pitcher, giving you momentum so you can take off for first base.
When you take your first step with your front foot, don’t let yourself step backward too far.
On your crossover step, get your foot as close to the front of the batter’s box as possible, pointing toward third base or left field. Even though your foot is facing third, keep your shoulders squared toward home plate.
The best thing you can do to be an all-star slap hitter like Natasha Watley? Practice, practice, practice! Run through your drills every day, always looking for ways to improve.
With the right attitude, the right techniques, and some hard work, you can take your slap hitting to the next level.
We hope you enjoyed this post on "How To Slap Hit In Softball Like Natasha Watley". Don't forget to check out the in-depth slap-hitting course with BDU Professor Kayla Joyce.