• Why Fastpitch Softball Drag Bunting Works From the Right Side

by Tim Covey

The Women’s College World Series (WCWS) is the pinnacle event in our sport.  Thanks to ESPN and College Softball, our sport has grown in popularity by tremendous proportions over the past 10-15 years.

This years champion (2015) was the Florida Gators.  So what were my top 3 lessons that I learned from the Gators this year?

 

Lesson #1: That fastpitch softball drag bunting (or the “short-game”) is effective -even from the right side!

The drag bunt (or what some call the “sneaky bunt”) from the right-handed hitter is something that we saw used on multiple occasions during this year’s WCWS.  In fact, I cannot recall a year where I saw it used more often.

Kirsti Merritt of the University of Florida used this on multiple occasions during the tournament to try and collect a base hit (and was successful on more than one occasion).  She has great speed, but her ability to wait until the last second to show the bunt is also incredible.

Merritt was certainly not the only right-handed player that used this technique in the tournament to put pressure on the defense. What struck me is that in years past I have seldom seen this used so deep into the playoffs.  It seems that once teams reach the WCWS, the defense is so good that right-handed hitters are often limited to simply swinging away.  But this year was a little different.

You might be asking a couple of things at this point, such as:

  • What exactly is fastpitch softball drag bunting?
  • How do I use this information to help my team?

Let’s start with the first question,  “What exactly is a drag bunt?”

Without going into all of the “nuts and bolt” of technique, a couple of key points about the drag bunt are as follows:

  • It is a way for the hitter to wait until the last possible second to move into bunt position before they attempt the bunt.
  • Using this technique puts more pressure on the defense because the defense has less time to react as a result of not knowing it is happening until the last second.
  • Any time a pitcher is slow, or a corner infielder is playing back (or is slow, has a weak arm, etc)., it can present a great opportunity to do this to try and get a base hit.
  • At the high school and younger levels, this is a great tool to be used with a runner on third base to try and score a run (in multiple ways) by simply putting down a bunt.
  • In the most basic sense of technique, the hitter drops her back foot behind her slightly while bunting (as opposed to squaring around).  This gives her good “push” out of the box.
  • Click HERE for a brief video and description of this part of the drag bunt technique.
  • Click HERE for a brief video on a bunting drill that can help your players improve their drag bunting!

And lastly, how can this help my program?

This first takeaway from the WCWS is a reminder that we need to teach our players more things than swinging the bat and a traditional sacrifice bunt. What really struck me is that the short-game (even from the right side), was a factor in the “grand stage” of softball, the Women’s College World Series.

If this can be a factor against the best defenses in the world, then how much more could it be a factor at the high school level and lower?

Using the short-game and other aspects of team offense can give you multiple ways of scoring runs at any given moment.  

In fact, you will likely find yourself on the wining side of games that would have ended in losses were it not for a key drag bunt from the right side!



Tim Covey
Tim Covey

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