How to Slap pass

What is a slap pass or slap shot in Field Hockey?

A slap pass, also referred to as a slap shot, is great for passing over a middle distance to a teammate or for shooting on goal. A slap shot is stronger and faster for hitting the ball than a push pass.

Technique –

  1. Let your body be perpendicular to your target while your two hands tightly grip the stick. Your hands should be apart as if you were dribbling with your lower hand holding the lower half of the grip and your upper hand near the top.
  2. Position your hands closer together for more power as you get used to the slap pass.
  3. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Allow the ball to sit a few feet ahead of you. If you hit the ball from too far back you’ll power and if you charge too far forward you’ll probably miss it.
  4. Your front foot should be level with the ball as you take your shot. Your back knee should be almost touching the ground.
  5. Bring the stick back so the hook is level with the ground.
  6. When you hit the ball keep low and follow through pointing the toe of the stick toward the target.

Remember you are not trying to hit the ball with the end of the hook, more the base of the shaft. Your knee of your leading leg should be completely bent. Your toe should be pointing at about 90 degrees from where you want to hit the ball. Pros excel at keeping low with their sticks almost parallel to the ground. Always follow through, while looking at your target.

I genuinely had to work on my technique to be able to hit the ball accurately, and with power. Eventually, you work out the kinks in your style. I realized I was too upright when slapping and not getting enough power.

Watch how international players make the slapping pass. They position their bodies very low with their sticks almost parallel to the ground and always follow through.

If you’re a beginner, it’s fine to use your first affordable stick to practice your slap shots. As you gain the passion and get used to the sport, hone your skills with a more expensive stick. Midbows will help you gain an advantage and make it easier to slap, as they are more predictable, especialy for a beginner.

How do I practice accurate slap passes?

For accuracy, try practice slapping the ball into a goal from the penalty spot at your local hockey pitch. Alternatively, buy a portable goal and set it up in your garden, away from windows and the house LOL! [ See my article on goal nets] Try to aim for the corners of the goal as much as possible. Once you’re confident you can do this every time, move back to the top of the D and practice the same thing. This will help improve accuracy big time.

What is a deceptive slap pass?

Often used by top-class fullbacks. When the traditional slap pass looks like it could be played, the player will cock his wrists at the last minute and splay the ball to the left or right, deceiving opposing players.

Does upper body strength count when slapping the ball?

Yes, if you use weights to increase your upper body strength it will give you a small advantage to hit the ball faster. Wrist action matters a lot, with fast body rotation using your hips and body mass displacement making a great difference. Arguably more than muscle bulk if you get the technique right.

Time to practice!

So I headed down to the playing field armed with this research. It’s good to have a refresher swot up once in a while. I’d been playing this technique for years. However, this research told me I wasn’t getting low enough, and sometimes my swinging stick had been rising a few inches higher than it should have been.

I’ll also throw a few more deceptive, right and left slap passes into my overall game. The deceptive right pass in particular is a nice skill to hone, good for splaying passes to a right attacker from further down the field. If you have a defensive line good at this skill, then you have a solid foundation for any team with aspirations of climbing the league.

I will practice more on my slap shots, aiming, particularly at the corners of the goal to improve my accuracy, and hopefully, I might get on the score sheet more often. Please play safe, don’t forget your shin pads and mouth protection.

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