Sunday, February 13, 2011

How To Bunt

By Jim Bain
I won't say a player can make a living or impress the girls without hitting towering home runs, but a good bunter, at the proper time, can be as valuable as gold, and the older you become, the more valuable.

Unfortunately, some coaches don't believe in taking the appropriate amount of time to teach the skills of bunting, and yes, it is a skill. It's understandable up to a point, as there's plenty enough to learn, trying to hit the ball, much alone learn a controlled bunt.

However, the conception bunting is not an important aspect of the game is totally wrong. Not only is bunting an important play at all levels, perhaps more so the older the players become, but it can be a great aid in helping a youngster become a better hitter.

Sometimes it's an easier path to explain and eliminate what not to do before tackling the how to do elements.

When a player squares around to bunt he must be careful to not be standing on home plate, because if he's making contact with the plate when he bunts the ball, he'll be declared out.

When the hitter squares to bunt and slides his hand up the barrel of the bat, he must not wrap his fingers around the bat exposing his fingers to danger, as I shouldn't have to explain the painful consequences of fingers smashed between the ball and the bat.

The hitter should not stab or lunge at the ball with the bat. The ball should hit the bat which is being gently held absorbing the impact resulting in the ball going fair, but a limited distance. Stabbing or lunging at the ball will only result in a missed strike or a ball hit much farther than intended.

Never, unless it's a suicide bunt, try to bunt a high pitch. High pitches are extremely difficult to bunt towards the ground, as the ball has a tendency to pop up into the air which normally results in an easy put out.

The sacrifice bunt is used to give up an out, the hitter, in order to advance a base runner to scoring position, whether it be to second base or third base.

The worse thing a hitter can do when faced with this situation is trying to be cute and disguise his intention to bunt by swinging his bat wildly around, as all this does is throw off the bunter's timing and ruins his mechanics.

As the pitcher comes set in his stretch position the hitter should square his body, directly facing the pitcher. As he does this he should lower his bat from the hitting position, slide his right hand (right handed hitter) up the back of the bat's barrel, stopping @ at the trademark.

The bat should be held and guided with the batter's left hand that's in a slightly choked location. The barrel of the bat should be cradled from behind with the thumb and knuckles of the first two fingers.

The left hand allows the bunter to angle the bat to make the ball go towards the third base side or the first base side. Pull the handle in toward your body, directs the ball down the third base line. Push the handle away from you, the ball will be bunted down the first base line.

The cradle hand helps absorb the impact of the ball striking the bat deadening the bounce off the bat and limiting how far it goes.

This is extremely important. You must have the bat out ahead of the plate in fair territory. Failure to do this will almost always result in bunting a foul ball.

Jim Bain - Former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth. Visit his exciting info packed website:

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1 comment:

Loud Mom in the Stands said...

Thanks for the tips. My son isn't allowed to bunt this year but I want to prepare him for next year! I believe it is important to be able to execute a good bunt when needed.