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Square Bunt vs. Pivot Bunt In Youth Baseball

#BaseballCoaching #Little League

Contrary to the way MLB is evolving I am a big proponent of bunting especially in youth baseball or softball (ages 8-12). Think about it. A nicely placed bunt toward 3rd base that slows or “dies” near the foul line is a tough play for experienced players. On the youth level it is especially tough for the 3rd baseman, pitcher or even the catcher to make the play. There are multiple types of bunts but I generally keep it to 2. The square bunt and the pivot bunt. The square bunt is when the batter adjusts his feet (& shoulders) so they are facing the pitcher. With the pivot bunt the batter pivots on the front of both feet so just the shoulders are square to the pitcher. I prefer teaching the pivot bunt. In a playoff game one of my players laid down a perfect bunt. However he was doing the square bunt and his foot was on home plate when he made contact with the ball so he was called out. Here are some other tips:

  1. Coaches will teach the bat should be level. I teach the barrel (fat part) should be higher than the handle. If the barrel is lower, the ball will be fouled back. Many MLB players will have the barrel even or pointed down. Don’t do it! Different class of talent.
  2. When practicing, try to get the bunt toward 3rd but past the pitcher. Better chances of being safe when the 3rd baseman fields it.
  3. Getting in the bunting position. I teach when the pitcher’s front foot is on it’s way down. Not too early and not too late. Some players will get into position late but lay down quality bunts. If the player is comfortable that way, leave him alone.
  4. When getting into the bunting position, the top hand slides dow toward the barrel but not too far and should be held by 3 fingers, thumb, index and middle finger.
  5. Knees should be bent.
  6. Bat should not move forward too much. I use the “imaginary glass pane” theory. Don’t break the glass by pushing the bat too far forward.
  7. Don’t bunt if the ball is to high or too low. But if it is a high strike or low strike, player has to adjust but always keeping the barrel higher than the handle.
  8. The best bunts are said to hit the dirt first with one bounce then roll on the grass.
  9. A great way to teach the pivot bunt is in a gym with just socks on.

Some of the best all time bunters were: Matty Alou,Rod Carew and Pete Rose among others. Stats show that Carew attempted 126 bunts for hits and reached base 90 of those times for a whopping 72%. Another excellent but overlooked bunter was Mickey Mantle who knew exactly where to place the ball when he batted lefty with a drag bunt.

When organizations and coaches come to their senses and don’t rely on Sabermetrics 100% of the time, bunting will come back to MLB. Till then, coaches on the youth level should spend time teaching their players the skill and nuances of the great art of bunting.

Related Resources

Baserunning & Bunting Drills (video)

Baseball Coaching:A Guide For The Youth Coach & Parent

For more tips:

www.YouthSportsClub.com

If you coach your son or daughter in youth baseball or softball, don’t miss another tip. Follow us: on Twitter    @SchupakSports

Views: 54

Comment by Tom Schwindy on October 14, 2018 at 11:03pm

Marty:

  We had a great coach when I was a kid, he taught us how to but with Wiffle balls and the yellow thin bat. As I read through your explanations I was taken back to a day I can no longer find in my head, yet I still can see it! He too had us with the bat head higher not equal or lower than the "barrel" of the bat. Not that the Wiffle bat had a barrel. But with the Wiffle balls we could see what happens when we did it wrong and it was only a plastic ball that stung when it hit us after glancing off the bat. Nice job I loved the read! 

Yes bring back the bunting for a base hit, coaches should teach it, players should learn it, players should execute it, the bunt should be back in baseball.

Comment by Dave Vaccaro on October 16, 2018 at 12:36pm

Another tip.......with no strikes, play with the line...So what if you bunt it foul. 

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