Friday, October 28, 2011

How To Control The Bunt

By Jim Bain

The utilization of the "Bunt" as an offensive weapon is not a new strategy, thus the rule which declares an automatic third strike call on a batter, who has two strikes and bunts the ball foul. The rule was created in order to prevent a player from being able to continue attempting to bunt until he finally got it right.

With the implementation of the rule the ability to successfully lay a bunt down in no more than two attempts, creating a two strike count on the batter, became more important than ever.

There are two distinct contrary philosophies in baseball pertaining to using the sacrifice bunt as a weapon.

1. Earl Weaver, famous manager of the Baltimore Orioles, eloquently expressed one point of view by stating " I only have 27 outs in a game, why would I give one away?" The idea of trading an out for advancing a runner into scoring position, with the hope he can be driven in, did not set well in that day and age.

2. The second thought process is, trading an out for the increased percentage of being able to score a run by advancing the runner, is no different than increasing your odds by bringing in a left handed pitcher to face a left handed batter.

Differences of philosophy not withstanding, one issue on which there is no disagreement on is Giving up an out without accomplishing the intended goal, is totally unacceptable. In other words, if you're going to bunt to move a runner into scoring position, you'd better be successful.

The key to a successful bunt is the ability to place the baseball in a particular area of the field which prevents the defense from throwing out the lead runner, and that ability is created by having complete control of the bat.

Let's exam a few of the skills required in order to become a proficient bunter.

1. Knowing how to hold the bat, which sounds simple enough, is totally different than your normal batting grip. The bat, instead of being firmly gripped with both hands, is cradled loosely allowing for the bat to move in your hands.

A. Your right hand (right handed hitters) will slide up the barrel of the bat, loosely held with the finger tips, never wrap your fingers around the barrel of the bat placing your fingers in the hitting zone. By holding the bat in this manner you allow the bat to recoil in your hand as the ball strikes the bat, which absorbs the ball's energy, which in turn reduces the travel distance off the bat.

B. Your left hand will firmly grip the handle of the bat, because this hand will control the angle the bat is moved in, which controls the direction the ball will be bunted in. Push your left hand out away from your body and you pull the bat barrel backwards, which will push the ball to the right side of the infield. Pull the bat handle in towards the body and the produced bat angle will push the ball to the left side of the infield.

It's the command of knowing how far to angle the bat, and how firmly to grip the bat head, which will dictate the exact placing, direction wise, and distance wise, which is the key to successful bunting.

Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on running baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:

Article Source:

No comments: