Every good baseball or softball player knows the role that bunting can play in getting the infielders off guard. Bunting, when well executed, can be an effective trick against any tough pitcher. This technique can also be your strategic way of taking advantage of a team that demonstrates weak or poor fielding skills. Besides, it can be a good way for you to transform things just if you are having a challenging day hitting.
Whichever way, bunting is a critical technique to have as a hitter. Bunting for a hit is a skill that is not as popular as it once was. With most kids growing up and learning to hit with aluminum bats, we know to sit back and wait for the big hit and neglect the bunting game. Some of the most common mistakes you’ll notice when players are bunting for a crash are
(1) Attempting to be too fast and
(2) Taking too long before attempting the bunt.
While these are common mistakes, they are not without remedy. Below are some tips on how you can bunt like a pro.
How to Bunt Like a Pro for a Hit
Pint number one is the importance of placement; it is more critical than surprise. In most cases, infielders are a little tighter if bunting is anywhere close to a possibility. So, here is what to do:
1. Drag Bunt
Drag bunting means bunting for a hit down the third baseline.
You’ll mostly use this bunt when a right-handed pitcher is throwing. Such a pitcher will usually fall off in the direction of the 1st base side. This way, it’s difficult for the pitcher to alter his momentum and make a play, more so if he is off balance.
How Right-handed Hitters can execute a Drag Bunt
If you are a right-handed hitter, executing a drag bunt need not be difficult. Do the following:
Step 1: Get to your normal position in the batter’s box.
Step 2: When the pitcher’s arm and momentum start to come to the home plate, Set your bat angle and ensure your base is in the correct position.
- Ensure you set your bat angle using the same upper body dynamics used when sacrifice bunting (your hands should be away from the body; your barrel should be above the knob, and the bat be at the top of the strike zone).
- Direct the end of the bat to the second baseman, thus setting the angle to third base.
- Lift your right foot and drop it back, ensuring your stance is closed off toward the pitcher. This ensures your feet are in a strong position for you to start your run to first base.
Step 3: Ensure you put the baseball close to the foul line. You’d rather have the ball-bunted foul than have it bunted right back to the pitcher. In case it’s foul, you still have the opportunity for another strike or two to attempt again or start swinging.
How left-handed batters can drag bunt
Step 1: Take your usual position in the batter’s box.
Step 2: When the pitcher’s arm and momentum start coming towards the home plate, make your move and set your bat angle by gliding your left hand up the bat in the direction of the trademark (this includes your other upper body dynamics in bunting). At this point, get your base in the correct position to initiate your run.
- There’s nothing wrong with having your left foot stepping a little closer to the plate. Doing so will open your stance up in the direction of the pitcher while at the same time giving you a more advantageous angle toward the first base.
- Do not step on the plate but stay in the batter’s box. In case one foot is out of this box, and you make any contact with the ball, you’ll be out.
Step3: This left-handed bunting style, where you take your left foot and move it closer to the home plate to get the angle, is easier to execute than a crossover step followed by bunting. In the crossover step, you take your left foot, cross your right foot, bunt, and then run. This is tricky as it leaves you vulnerable with the pitch that’s coming at you. Besides, it also involves a lot of head and foot movement, making it challenging to execute a quality bunt down.
2. Push Bunt
This refers to bunting where you bunt for a hit toward the second baseman. Push bunting is the following technique you can use to deliver effective bunting.
The push bunt is often used when there is a left-handed pitcher on the mound. The reason for this is simple. When a left-handed pitcher throws the pitch, he will typically fall off the mound towards the 3rd baseline. This naturally opens up a bunting lane in the direction of the 2nd baseman.
The whole idea here is to push the baseball hard enough to get past the pitcher towards the 2nd baseman. In most cases, if you can have the 1st baseman vacate his bag, it becomes an easy hit for you.
How right-handed batters can execute a push bunt
Step 1: The set-up and dynamics here are a replica of the drag bunt. However, there is one exception. Rather than catch the ball with the bat and gently bunt the ball to 3rd base, you’ll have to bunt it firmly towards the 2nd baseman.
Step 2: Use your legs to push the bunt, and utilize your total momentum to go through the baseball. As you do this, try to keep your arms as still as possible, relying more on your legs.
Step 3: You intend to make the ball end up where the infield grass and infield dirt meet somewhere between the second baseman and the first baseman play. One good thing about the push bunt is that it is hard to defend if well executed.
How left-handed batters can push bunt
Step 1: Again, the set-up and body mechanics are the same as those mentioned about the left-handed drag bunt. Your hands should be away from your body, the barrel should be above the knob, and the bat should be positioned at the top of the strike zone.
Step 2: Set your bat angle by directing the end of the bat in-between the 3rd baseman and shortstop. Doing this gives you a rise towards the player you want to lay your bunt.
Step 3: From here, you have two options you can proceed with:
- Option one: With your left foot, take a small step toward the home plate. You then use the same foot to drive towards second base.
- Option two: Alternatively, you can utilize the crossover step to move your left foot past your right foot towards the pitcher.
Step 4: We think the first approach requires less body movement is thus more accessible. However, it can be a bit challenging to get the velocity needed on the bunt this way, but if you try the trick, you’ll realize it’s pretty consistent.
Step 5: This is similar to the right-handed bunt. Ensure you keep the ball away from the pitcher by ensuring the ball ends up in the same place where the infield grass and infield dirt and meet; someplace in-between where the second baseman first baseman and play.
You can bunt effectively with enough practice, irrespective of whether you are right or left-handed. Baseball practice will come in handy to help you master these simple but effective strategies. Give it a trial, and you’ll quickly see how far the method can enhance your games.