Bunting is a key, but often overlooked offensive skill. A simple and fun way to develop proper bunting technique is to practice directional bunting.
To do this drill, all the equipment you will need is an article that can represent a home plate (i.e. – throw-down base, fielding glove, ball bucket lid, etc.) and an approved baseball or softball bat.
Your Little Leaguers® must wear a batting helmet and, if doing the backyard tip outside, the cleats they normally wear to practice or a game or sneakers/running shoes if inside.
Find an open space outside, such as a yard or field; or inside use a gymnasium, basement, or indoor sports facility.
Place the home plate/item acting as home plate base. Once home plate is set, have your Little Leaguer place the big toe of their left foot (front foot if right-handed batter) in line with the front corner of home plate.
Instruct your Little Leaguer to imagine the pitcher is on the mound.
Then have he/she assume their natural hitting stance.
With you standing approximately 15 feet in front of your Little Leaguer, instruct him/her to pivot on the ball of their front foot, and assume an athletic position to attempt a bunt.
The athletic stance includes bending the knees, and moving the hands from the hand-on-top-of-hand grip to a split grip, with the right hand balancing the barrel of the bat, while using the thumb to brace the bat.
The barrel of the bat should be angled slightly upward and the arms extended away from the body. Do NOT lock the elbows.
Catch the Ball with the Bat
With your Little Leaguer in an athletic bunting position, instruct them to try to, “catch the ball with bat” as you toss the ball into the hitting zone. This is done by moving the body up or down, using the knees to adjust the body’s height. The player’s elbows are at a slight bend and the arms are to remain firm. Remind your batter to remain athletic and able to turn away from an inside pitch.
The object of the drill is to develop “soft hands.” A batter with soft hands is able to absorb the force of a pitch and “deaden” the ball so that it bounds off the bat and on to the ground with controlled direction and pace.
Focus on timing and body positioning. Remind your Little Leaguer to keep their body’s center of gravity low, hands out in front of home plate, so that the bat contacts the ball in fair territory, increasing the possibility that the defense will need to make play on the ball. Repeat several times to establish consistent timing and technique.
Try to toss the ball to different locations, both inside and out of the strike zone. As your Little Leaguer becomes comfortable with the body position to successfully execute a bunt, place targets (cones, batting helmet, fielding glove, etc.) approximately 10 feet in front of home plate. Then practice bat angle and control by placing the ball toward first base, pitcher’s mound, and third base.