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Saturday, January 8, 2011

My favorite bunting drill

I mentioned in a post about hitting mistakes that many good high school and college hitters fail to set aside time to practice with the future in mind.  I noted that players that keep moving up beyond high school and college tend to hit in the 3, 4, or 5 spot in the batting order.  Because of this, these kids are rarely, if ever, asked to bunt.  When they find themselves batting in a different spot in the line-up at the next level (especially 1, 2, or 9), many have paid very little attention to bunting in the past and struggle early on.

The sac bunt can easily be mastered with sound
mechanics and a willingness to improve.
So, if you are planning for the future and want to work on bunting or if you are currently at the next level and need to improve quickly, here is a great sacrifice bunting drill to help you out.  The drill has three phases. 

Phase 1: Use a glove. Many coaches have used the phrase catch the ball with the bat when teaching a sacrifice bunt.  So why not use a glove to teach that concept?  Here's what you do.  If you are a right-handed batter, find a glove for your right hand (left hand glove for a left handed batter).  Set up in your bunting position as if you have a bat in your hands.  Extend the glove over home plate as if the glove is the barrel of the bat.  When the ball is thrown, catch the ball in the glove.  The act of catching is similar to what you want to do when bunting: look the ball into your glove, let the ball come to your glove - don't move the glove to the ball, give a little bit after catching, etc.  Note: It is important to do everything you would normally do with the rest of your body during a bunt - eye level, feet position, front of the box, etc.  Do this a number of times and then move on to the next phase.

Phase 2: Use a bat and glove. Do the same thing as Phase 1 but this time place the barrel of a bat in your glove and hold the bat handle with the other hand like it normally would on a bunt.  Attempt to catch the ball as if the bat is not in the glove.  Like in Phase 1, all proper bunting mechanics apply and all body parts must do what it normally would do on a bunt.  Bunt a number of balls this way before moving to Phase 3.

Phase 3: Use the bat. This time, get rid of the glove and just use a bat like normal.  However, pretend you still have the glove on and try to "catch" the ball exactly the same way you did in Phases 1 & 2.

Anytime you struggle with sacrifice bunting, go back to Phrase 1 and start the process over again.

What are your favorite drills?

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