In today’s blog post, we are going to talk more about baseball bunting, and some of the different aspects you need to be sure to address for a successful bunting game.
Baseball Bunting: Perception
A hitter’s perceptive skills will have great impact on his success as a bunt hitter. The hitter should keep his eyes on the pitcher from the moment he gets into his stance. A hitter should use a soft focus initially without one direct focal point.
Then, two to three seconds before the pitcher gets to his release point, he should hard focus on the release point, seeing the ball come out of the pitcher’s hand.
A hitter should have determined the pitcher’s release point long before he gets into the batter’s box. He should watch the pitcher during pregame warm-up, as the pitcher is working in the bullpen, watch from the dugout, and later from the on-deck circle.
Baseball Bunting: Body Mechanics
The bat path should be short and quick to the ball. The back hip rotates and clears a path for the elbows to travel close to the body, with the hands staying above and inside the ball.
Ideally, the back elbow will be at a 45-degree angle with the front arm straight at contact. The top hand palm up, the bottom hand palm down.
The arms are levers. When they stay close to the power source of the legs and torso, then maximum power is obtained. The further the hands and arms are extended from the power source, the weaker the swing.
Upon contact, the bat then continues through the zone and follows through with a high follow-through and a high finish. The high finish is very important because it allows the bat to stay in the strike zone a little longer, as opposed to somebody who would have a low follow-through.
If you’ll notice the stance of this hitter in relationship to home plate, his back foot is lined up with the middle of home plate. That way, when he squares around and begins to go to the bunt position, his bat will be in fair territory. As you can see, the bat would be in fair territory; that way he can bunt the ball in the fair territory much easier.
The first technique is to square around, moving both feet at the same time. Thus getting square to the pitcher.
The next movement could be a pivot move, which is the second technique, where the batter just pivots on his feet.
The coach needs to decide which technique he prefers. Some coaches will use both techniques – they will use a pivot technique in less crucial situations, and the square technique, especially in the late innings when it is absolutely crucial to get that run across. They feel that this technique is much easier and more successful because the batter has totally squared his body to the pitcher.
Baseball Bunting: Grip
The batter’s grip on the bat will determine how hard the bunter will move the ball away from home plate. If he wants a very firm bunt, then he will grip the bat very firmly. If he wants a soft bunt, then he will have more of a loose grip on the bat. His hands do stay separated; bottom hand down by the knob, top hand up by the label on the bat.
As he grips it, his top hand and fingers are underneath the bat, thumb behind it. This way he protects his hand. As he bunts it on the barrel, it will not make contact with his hand.
Baseball Bunting: Placing the Ball
In order to place the ball, all the bunter has to do is to turn his shoulders in midline in the direction that he wants to go. If he wants the bunt to the first base side, he merely turns his shoulders in that direction with his midline. If he wants to go to the third base line, then he would turn his shoulders in midline to the third base line.
The least bit of movement that we can have, the better that we’re going to place the ball. When moving on pitches that are up and down in the strike zone, the bunter wants to move all in one piece. In other words, his body is going to stay on the same plane as he moves up and down.
Everything move is in one piece. The bat moves as he flexes down with his knees, and as he stands up further the bat comes up and moves the same. This way we can keep our levels and we can keep our bat in the right position.
Be sure to check out this previous article for more great information on baseball bunting: Hitting Drills – Breaking Down The Bunt.
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