While we don't see it as often in baseball (at least at the MLB level), bunting still remains a huge part of the game of fastpitch softball. As you watch all levels of the game, you will see multiple softball teams using both the sacrifice and the drag bunt techniques.
It's important for softball players to learn both ways of bunting. Over time, you may find that some of your softball players will strongly prefer the drag bunt over the sacrifice.
However, it's important for your players to learn both. Your philosophy may also play a role in this as well...which we will get to later.
Let's start with the sacrifice bunt. Watch the video below as Coach Ritchhart explains the basics. And then continue reading for some additional info!
Sacrifice Bunting Keys for Fastpitch Softball
As a reminder, here are the key aspects of sacrifice bunting technique, as covered in the video:
The player needs to be in an athletic stance (knees bent, feet pointing forward, etc).
One thing to notice is that the player has her back foot slightly closer towards the plate than her front foot. This provides better balance.
Place the bat at the top of the strike-zone to start. The player should always work down to the ball rather than upwards to the ball.
Have the hands separated for better bat control. This means one hand at the bottom of the barrell, and one hand on the grip of the bat. (See video for demonstration).
Keep the bat out in front with some slight flexion of the arms.
Make sure the player is covering the entire plate with her bat.
Drag Bunt Keys for Fastpitch Softball
Drag bunting is the second method we will cover today.
In this instance, we are talking specifically about drag bunting for a right-handed batter.
Today’s video focuses on the upper body and the back foot primarily. However, there are some other key aspects, which is covered below the video.
Watch the video below to see important aspects of drag bunting in action, and then continue reading below the video for the additional content.
As you could see in the video, a couple of important things need to happen to help your players put down a good drag bunt:
The back foot should drop back.
The upper body should lean forward at the same time.
As you teach your softball players drag bunting, you may notice a couple of “issues” that you will want to try and correct. First, many players will have a hard time dropping the foot back.
Instead, they will try to pivot on the back foot. The downside of this is that they will not be able to get out of the batters box as quickly.
Another “issue” you may see is that if they pivot, they will square their upper body around completely. I don’t cover this in the video, but players should pull the knob down towards their front hip…which will result in them keeping their shoulders somewhat “closed.”
When players have been taught the traditional sacrifice bunt their whole life, they often will have a tendency to square around completely.
Second, it increases the chance of getting a base hit or forcing an error.
Third, some players will begin to prefer this method over the sacrifice bunt, which only helps your offense.
Fourth, if you have an aggressive mindset you may decide to use the drag bunt primarily. It holds the defense back longer and increases your odds of success when executed properly!
Just sit back and watch some of the Women's College World Series game this May/June. If you pay attention, you will quickly learn that the drag bunt can be a major factor even at the highest levels of the game!