For some of you the past two months have been difficult. I’ve asked you sacrifice yourself at bat via a sacrifice bunt. Phooey! I’ve asked you to get over serious fears of getting your head close to contact to ensure you. Yikes! This month I’m going to show you some ways to use your mad bunting skills to actually get base hits.
Typically it doesn’t matter to me whether you watch the video before or after my article. But this month I’d like to have you watch the video first. So please stop reading, press play then come back and read the rest after you’ve watched the video.
What I wanted you to see in the video is that Amanda is every bit as big and strong as I am and the more important point being that Amanda is a power hitter. A good power hitter. She doesn’t need to resort to bunting because she can’t hit. While I have a lot of speedy little base running maniacs I could have used for this video I chose to use Amanda because she uses bunting as a weapon like a hit.
There are many times when you go up to bat in close games and the infielders respect your power and are playing deeper than normal. They play deep to try and increase their chances of covering holes and to provide them more time to track shallow line drives/bloops. That is the perfect time for what many of you already know as a quick bunt. You simply wait as long as possible and then bunt. I’m guessing your coaches already have you practice that kind of thing. An alternative is to try and get the defense thinking they are missing something. You show bunt so they will creep up, since they started back their creeping doesn’t matter. Then you pull back.
Now they get a fear in them “crud this is a power hitter and now I’m too close” so they get on their heals and think about retreating. Then you actually do the quick bunt.
As a side note – If you watch the video again notice how at first Amanda just practiced the timing and her hands didn’t convince anyone she was really hitting, then I asked her to really sell the swing by adjusting her hands and pulling the bat back. No reason you have to try a dozen mechanical things at once. Do what’s comfortable at first, then add another aspect of what you ultimately want to achieve.
An alternative that I really love is what I call a sneaky bunt. It’s basically a quick bunt with the added benefit of some movement. Let’s face it your bunts are “money” by this point so there should be no harm in having you add a little movement so that you not only catch them by surprise you give yourself a head start with some movement as well. Two things are crucial for your success with this type of bunt: First you better be able to track the ball and get the bunt down. Second your timing is critical. If you land out of the box before contact you are going to be called out. If you start late, then you have no advance movement it’s just a quick bunt.
The last thing to work on this month is a fake bunt – slap. Not a fake bunt then swing. For this you show bunt, stay squared up for the bunt and then slide your bottom hand up then simply slap the ball towards a specific spot. Why would you want to do this? Why not just swing? Well it’s all about the situation. Let’s imagine a game situation where you have a runner at first base with no outs. You show bunt. “Ah-ha” thinks the third basemen she figured you may want to advance the runner. So she plays up more than she should because she wants to shoot out your lead runner and show you. The short stop thinks to herself “Cool she’s just bunting so I can cheat and cover second to cover the throw if the runner goes.” All stuff that goes on all of the time right. Except that in this situation you aren’t just bunting you are trying to take advantage of their thought process. If you could swing and hit an open spot all of the time your batting average would be much higher than whatever it is now. So I’m not asking you to fully pivot, move your head, change your stance or anything that hinders your chances of success. I’m simply asking you to stay squared up, remain at the same height to sell the sacrifice bunt and then slap your front hand right at the line where you know it will be to hard for the third basemen and will either force the short stop to make a great backhanded play if she didn’t cheat or lead to an easy base hit if she does cheat.
Notice in the video that the best way to practice is to actually draw a success line. A targeted spot where you can build muscle memory knowing it will lead not only to the runner advancing but your being safe as well. Hopefully the angle of the camera helped you understand just what their 3B or 1B would see and how hard it would be for them to react to your fake bunt – slap.
I dedicated 3 solid months to working on bunting because I believe in it.
My players gave up the opportunity to dive and get dirty on a world wide stage because they believe in bunting and believed that my diving instead of them would prove a point.
Gary Leland gave me the freedom to spend 3 solid months working on bunting because he believes in bunting as well.
While good points those are answers to the wrong question. The right question is “Do you believe bunting is a valuable weapon?” The world is full of players who are horrible bunters because they only bunt when the coach forces them to. Nobody likes to be forced to do anything. I want you to want to bunt because you are confident now that you can. I want you to want to bunt because you belief it is a valuable weapon. I want you to bunt because you want to.
Dalton Ruer: Coach Ruer has been using softball to encourage and motivate athletes for 15 years. Throughout the year he is a private softball instructor to many college bound athletes in Georgia. He facilitates team based clinics and instructs at many elite and college recruiting softball camps. His specialties are helping players verbalize their dreams and establish a plan to achieve them and helping players overcome the fears that are holding them back from being exceptional athletes. He has produced 6 instructional DVD’s covering all aspects of how to win the short game and how to dive for the ball. Keep up with Coach Dalton by visiting his blog and resource site at CrossTrainingSoftball.com. Join Dalton On: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube
This content is provided with a Creative Commons Share-Alike License. Feel free to use this content, so long as you give credit to Gary Leland, of Fastpitch.TV and link to www.Fastpitch.TV