Fielding Bunts — Techniques for Success
Bunting is a skill that is used a lot in softball to get on base and move runners. So it’s important that your athletes know the proper techniques to use when they are faced with a bunt situation. By reacting properly, your athletes success rate against a bunt hitter will be much greater.
Picking Up The Bunt Ball
There are several ways you can pick up the ball on a bunt. If the ball is barely moving, you can use the backside of the glove to press the ball into your throwing hand. The large back side of the ball will protect and secure the ball until you are ready to throw. Yoiu want to avoid the ball getting locked into the webbing of the glove. This is a quick motion — you field the ball and get rid of it.
You can work on this simple but important skill with your athletes with this simple drill for fielding bunts:
With your third base player in position halfway to home plate, the coach will roll the ball and the third base player will come in. If the ball is toward the middle, she is going to circle around to the outside so that her feet will end up in the position to release the ball with power and accuracy — the lead stride and lead foot going towards her target base. The minute she picks up the ball, she should have a straight line through her shoulders to the target.
Catcher Plays for the Bunt
On a bunt down the First Base line, the catcher will come out, adjust her feet and body in preparation for the throw while surrounding the ball, and then scoop the ball with both hands, ready to make the throw to first base. If the catcher can make the throw without a crow hop, this will allow for quicker reaction. The important point to remember here is that the feet are moving at the same time as the other mechanical components to make this move as quick as possible.
A bunt down the third base line is a situation that is a little more difficult for the catcher fielding a bunt. If the catcher were to follow the rule of circling the ball on the outside, that action would add a lot of time to the defensive move. Instead, the catcher will come around the inside of the field, turn her back to the outfield and scoops the ball, ready for the throw to first base.
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