Saturday Secrets to Great Baseball Coaching – Small Ball
If you have ever been to a girls’ softball practice or game, you will notice the great emphasis they put on the bunting game. The bunting game is practiced and utilized in games a great deal. It is not uncommon to see a girls’ softball team win games without ever swinging for a base hit. Using the bunting game to put the ball in play, advance runners, and force the defense into defensive decisions is a big part of softball. Because of that emphasis, girls are very adept at getting bunts down, as well as having good bunting fundamentals. Those good fundamentals are often lacking in baseball, even at or especially at the major league level.
I am not saying that baseball coaches should employ the exact same emphasis on bunting as women’s softball, but they should recognize the importance of the bunting game for advancing runners and winning close games.
Baseball coaching suggestions:
Teach players the importance of the bunting game
Focus on bunting fundamentals in practice so every player on the team can bunt
Use the bunt to advance runners, especially in close games, whether players want to bunt or not (because many do not want to)
Explain exactly what a “sacrifice bunt” means
Use the bunt game against extremely tough pitching
Be sure the fast runners on the team can bunt for a base hit as this can help their batting average and on base percentage
Teach the sacrifice and safety squeeze bunt plays as that can produce easy runs and win games
It can be boring to have one player bunting and the rest of them standing around – line up four or five batters at a time, equally spaced, and pitch a ball to each, one after another. In a short period, each batter can have a great number of bunting opportunities.