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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > Coach's Box Newsletter > 2006 > Coach's Box - May 2006 > Michele Smith - May 2006

Michele Smith - May 2006

 

Volume I, No. 5

   May 2006

 
   
      
  

Sacrifice Bunting
By Michele Smith
Olympic Gold Medal Pitcher

Sacrifice Bunting is a very important skill in fast pitch softball.  In fact, teams that move runners with great execution are often more successful than teams that do not execute the sacrifice bunt.  When a runner is on first base, in order to score her from that position it takes two or three base hits.  When a runner is in scoring position, it takes just a base hit, or most two at the most, to get her across the plate.  There are many ways to move runners, and the sacrifice bunt is just one of those ways.  Let’s take a little bit of time and talk about a style of bunting that will make your team more successful. 

Most times we take the sign for the sacrifice bunt while outside the batter’s box.  Therefore when we enter into the batter’s box, we want to enter as if we are going to take a normal swing at the ball. Giving away the bunt too early would give the pitcher and catcher time to adjust the pitch they are throwing and for the defensive corners to charge in early.  We will step around into position early, but only after the pitcher has set and is at the start of her wind up. 

 

“Back Leg Step Around” Into Proper Bunting Position

Many times bunting failures are due to bad form.  I have developed a simple “back leg step around” for athletes to learn and easily get them into the proper bunting position.  I use this method myself, and it helps me get the majority of my bunts down while advancing runners. 

  • The first movement is with the back leg.  For lefties it is your left leg, for righties it is your right leg.  While pivoting on your front foot, take a full and long step forward with your back leg.  This will put your back foot, once it is down and planted, in front of your forward foot, with both feet in front of home plate.   

  • This style of bunting also puts my weight forward which is very important.  When my weight is forward I will get more bunts down and in fair territory.  Many bunt failures are due to bunting the ball foul, and using up your strikes.  Bunt the ball foul with two strikes and you’re out.  Weight forward bunting gives you more of a chance to bunt the ball fair, and gets you out of the batter’s box quicker and down the line toward first base. 

  • While I am stepping around with my back leg, my top hand is sliding up the bat for control.  My fingers remain behind the bat so they don’t get pinched between the bat and ball at contact. 

  • My arms remain at the top of the strike zone. 

  • My arms remain relaxed and are not straight.  They have a slight bend at the elbow.  This keeps the arms acting like shock absorbers, and puts down a soft bunt. 

  • My head and eyes are looking over the bat, as if the bat is a sight.

.

  • Keeping correct form as the ball approaches the contact zone is important.

 

  • While the ball approaches track the ball with both eyes, and think about “catching” the ball with the bat.  Remember to keep the bat angled slightly upward.  If the pitch is low, go down and get it with your knees.  Your legs should lower you; do not lower only your arms.

  • See the ball make contact with the bat.  See the ball down.  We want bunted balls to stop inside a three foot arc in front of home plate. 

 Incorrect Form  

Looking at this incorrect form picture, it is obvious that the footwork is wrong-the feet are in the wrong position.  Also, the body weight is back which is incorrect as well.  This will result in missed bunts and bunts going foul.  Many young athletes who are afraid of the ball tend to look like this while attempting to bunt.  It is important to teach the bunters the “back leg step around” form to get the entire body into correct position.

 

Bunting should be one of the easiest skills to learn in fast pitch softball.  Teaching your kids to bunt with this form will help you and your team.  Good Luck with your bunting and moving those runners into scoring position!   

 

For more information, visit Michele Smith's website at http://www.michelesmith.com .
 

 
 
 
 
 
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