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Bunting Into a Bucket.

Three Steps to Improving Bat Control

BUNTING INTO A BUCKET IS a skill progression that can be used to liven up your daily practice routine. By breaking up these skills into three steps, you can have your players concentrate on making contact with the ball and putting it into play.

Step one: Begin by reviewing several of the bunting fundamentals:

1. Move up to the front of the box in order to contact the ball before it can break.

2. Maintain good balance to help see the ball, make contact, and move Out of the box.

3. Pivot on the back foot and turn your upper body to face the pitcher.

4. Extend your arms and bat in front of you, keeping your bottom hand stationary and sliding the top hand about two-thirds of the way up the bat, gripping it with the thumb and index finger.

5. Keep the head of the bat up and at the top of the strike zone. This will help you stay on top of the ball and bunt it on the ground. Anything above the bat will be a ball, and you should pull the bat back.

6. Bend at the knees to bring the bat down on low pitches. Avoid dropping the head of the bat, as this will cause the ball to pop up.

7. Deaden the ball on contact by "catching" it with the head of the bat.

8. See that the ball contacts the bat.

Step two: Position two ball buckets, one on the third-base side and one on the first-base side about a third of the way between home plate and the pitchers' mound.

We instruct our players to sacrifice-bunt the ball into the bucket on the third-base side first. Once they have done this successfully, we tell them to do the same thing on the first-base side.

Note: When the batter bunts the ball from side to side, the bottom hand moves in or out while the top hand pivots the bat. We discourage our players from hitting the ball directly back to the pitchers' mound because this often leads to force-outs and potential double plays.

You can also position both buckets on the same side several feet apart and tell the players to bunt the ball between them.

Step three: Place one bucket on and about halfway up the third-base line and the other bucket about three feet away in fair territory. Instruct your players to drag-bunt the ball in between the buckets. The batter must wait as long as possible to disguise the bunt attempt. Then, almost simultaneously, he (R.H. batter) should drop his hands (with the bat) and drop the backfoot to put himself into a running and bunting position (the left handed batter does everything the same except that he steps the back foot forward toward first base).

Once the player(s) can effectively place the ball near or into the two buckets, we will repeat the routine to the other side. We encourage our players to think about dragging the ball close to the line. If it's fair it will probably be a hit. If it goes foul, he will get another chance to hit.

As the players progress in ability, we like to have them compete to see who can put the most balls into the bucket. Rewards can vary from extra batting practice to cutting back on conditioning that day.

So put those buckets to good use and get the most out of bunting practice.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:improving bat control (baseball)
Author:Frost, Jefrey
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2001
Words:586
Previous Article:POWER POINTS IN HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING.
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