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Coaching Little League - Bunting Basics

Posted by in Recreation: Sports: Baseball  ~  July 07, 2012 05:19:47 PM

Teaching little league baseball players to bunt is one of the first lessons that they should learn. Bunting is more effective in little league than perhaps any other level of baseball. This is because the defensive team is forced to field the ball and make the play cleanly. When you are facing a pitcher that is overpowering your little leaguers, the bunt can be a way to get them on base and build their confidence. Teaching bunting basics is also a rather easy thing to do.

The first step in teaching the bunt is to explain to the players what a bunt is. A bunt is simply tapping the ball gently down one baseline or the other. The bunt is used for a great many other reasons such as sacrificing and moving runners along the bases, but that is a bit advanced for most little leaguers. Stick to the basics at first when teaching the bunt. Explain that a good bunter is very valuable to your team, and they will be very valuable to the teams they play for in the future. Some may view it as a negative. There is no shame in laying down a bunt, and it is important that your team knows this.

When a player bunts the baseball, they should square themselves up completely to the pitcher. Some big leaguers will not square up and so on, so expect some little leaguers to want to emulate them. Do not allow this, because it can easily get them hurt. Have them square up completely to the pitcher. The right hand (with a right handed batter) will slide up the barrel of the bat to just above the grip. Take care that they pinch their thumb and forefingers around the bat in such a way that their fingers and thumb are protected. The barrel of the bat should be held perfectly level to the strike zone, with the knees bent slightly to await the pitch.

When the pitch comes in, your player should not stab at the ball. They should instead allow the ball to come to the bat and give a little. This will deaden the ball and keep it from rolling quickly to one of the fielders, thereby giving the little leaguer a head start towards first base. Make sure you teach them that they should move the bat up or down in the strike zone with their knees and not the bat. If they move the bat to try to contact the ball, they will likely pop up or bunt the ball foul. This is a common little league mistake and easily correctable.

The best drill to practice bunting is to grab a bag of balls and have them bunt over and over again. This works wonderfully, as repetition will help them excel at bunting. Make sure that they go through the entire motion of each bunt. Do not allow them to just stay squared up from the start of the pitch. Make them actually simulate what they would do in the game.