Slapper – noun: A speedy player who hits from the left-handed batter’s box. The slapper hits the ball after putting her body in motion and starting the process of running towards first base. Often times a slapper is a converted right handed hitter who sometimes switches from slapping to hitting right handed in a single at bat.
Let’s examine the definition above. One of the most amazing and frustrating trends I see in our game is the large number of young players who decide to become slappers. Especially when the hitter is motivated to make this conversion due to their struggles as a right-handed hitter. Somehow the conclusion has been drawn that if you can’t hit right-handed, you can become more successful as a slapper.
There are a couple of key words in the above definition that I want to touch on. I feel any player considering this conversion needs to pay special attention to these.
To become a truly successful slapper, a player must have enough speed to put real pressure on the defense. There can be a false sense of security created at the younger ages because the defense is more likely to make mistakes and thus allow a slow slapper to have success. This is nothing more than a trap. As this slapper moves up the food chain, a slow slapper is an out!
Body in Motion
Logic says striking a ball while in motion is a very difficult skill to master. The idea that someone who is struggling hitting a ball from a stationary position can now have success moving to the opposite batter’s box and in motion is difficult to accept. Yes, a slapper has several tools to choose from, but even the “easiest” can still be very challenging.
If a player struggled as a right-handed hitter, what makes anyone think they have the hand-eye coordination to become a successful slapper. The skills required to slap are at least as, if not more, difficult to master.
The drag bunt, you say?
Yes, I agree that a young player may have some success using the drag bunt, but just touching the ball and running stops working as you move up the ranks unless you have exceptional food speed.
Hitting right-handed is a very difficult skill. Slapping left-handed is a very difficult skill. Thinking that any player, let alone a very young player, can master both of these very difficult skills is just plain crazy. To think that player can continue to master both skills as they move up in age is, well whatever word means SUPER CRAZY!
Unless you have extraordinary speed, your future as a slapper is very limited. Don’t fall into the trap of becoming a slow slapper! If you are struggling as a young, right-handed hitter, keep working on improving your hitting. Don’t give up on your swing.
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