I used to use a nice, slow, old pitching machine to teach bunting. I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, so I have abandoned the machine and now take a two pronged approach.
Bunting Practice Drill
I throw bunting to each player on the team, from about 15 feet, as often as I can, working to mimic the velocity and various spins (fastball, curve / drop or change) of the high school pitchers my players are facing. I also have them throw bunting to each other because sometimes we HAVE to have that bunt put down even if the pitch is not a strike.
For sacrifice bunts, our focus is on three things:
1. When the pitcher is going into his motion, square up and start by lining up the bat at the same angle as the front of the plate and then use the left hand (for right handed batters) for the “steering wheel” that will “drive” or push the ball down third or first depending upon whether the player pulls or pushes the end of the bat to him / away from him.
2. Have the angle of the bat at approximately 5 – 10% above flat (we don’t teach 45 degree angled bat)
3. Most importantly, line up the oncoming ball, the bat and the batters eyes on the same plane.
If I get them to “look” the ball on to their bats, to get their face down there at the same level as the oncoming ball, they will consistently get the bat on the ball before it hits them in the face mask. Next we work on bunting the top half of the ball.
Bunting is an important part of our game and we work on it every day.