The lost art of bunting
Lesson after lesson, camp after camp, game after game. I see players (including pros) improperly attempting a bunt. Sacrifice bunts, bunt for a hit, suicide squeeze all done wrong.
What is the reason for the bunting epidemic? Lack of correct instruction.
Coaches often don’t emphasize the importance of bunting. So they teach it wrong or worse….don’t teach it at all!!
With the surging popularity in the late 90’s of the home run and analytic based management, the art of the bunt is seen as a ‘wasted out’. The new school of thought is to see as many pitches per at bat as you can, draw a walk, don’t steal the base, and wait for the 3 run home run.
Unfortunately, this is leading to an upward trend in strikeouts and a lack ability for teams to truly manufacture a run. Just look at the success the Kansas City Royals have enjoyed the past two seasons, culminating with a trophy this past year. Low strikeouts , great bunting and base skills and an athletic line up that could put the pressure on the D to make the play.
Three tips for better bunting
1. Don’t move your feet. Simply pivot your back foot as your moving your bat to the bunt position. This will help reduce movement of the head and make it easier to see the ball. It will also reduce the risk of stepping on home plate, which would mean YOUR OUT!
2. Angle the bat so the barrel is at a higher angle then the knob. This bat angle will help get the ball on the ground and not in the air. It will also allow for less missed bunt attempts. After all, the number one reason for swing/bunt and misses is a bad bat angle.
3. Pinch the bat with two fingers right below the barrel. A big mistake I see kids make is that they grip the bat on the barrel with all five fingers. This has the makings for disaster, or at least a couple broken fingers!
One last tip
Make believe like there is a glove on the end of the barrel of your bat and simply pretend to catch the ball with your bat. Too many players “stab” at the ball causing a missed bunt, foul ball, pop up or to hard of a bunt instead of playing a virtual game of catch with the bat as your glove.
Coach Kevin is a former draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds and the founder of prohitting.com. Check out ProHitting.com for more tips!