Softball Bunting Analysis

Power of Coaching Softball

Sacrifice bunting is a tough skill that takes persistence and patience to master in softball.  It seems like such an easy skill that anyone should be able to do because it looks simple and does not require a lot of movement because it is a sacrifice, and all you are doing is catching the ball.  It is actually not quite as easy as that, softball bunting analysis is a useful tool to break it down.

Softball Bunting Analysis Considerations

The best way to analyze softball skills is with video analysis.  The ability to slow the motion down and see specific movements by the player will allow you to not only take not of the refinements but also allows the player to see it as well. This will be useful in the development of kinesthetic awareness.  With sacrifice bunting, view it from all angles because there is no rotational movement until after contact.

Technical / Tactical Skill Factors

There are different philosophies on bunting ready position.  Do you have the bat on an angle?  How low to the ground do you set up in your ready position?  Depending on how the set up is, the analysis is the same.  The foundations of the bunting position are about preparation and execution.

Some Technical Errors for Sacrifice Bunting

Technical Errors

Improvement Strategies

poor ready position

practice in front of a mirror

leaves strikes

good positioning

eyes not on the ball

use different colored balls

shoulders not square

practice catching the ball

drops the bat

practice using knees to move

Some Tactical Errors for Sacrifice Bunting

Tactical Factors

Improvement Strategies

don’t understand importance

go over with the athletes

don’t understand sacrifice

discuss scenarios at practice

inexperience

observe game situations

runs outside of the bunt line

use cones in practice

Psychological Requirements

I would think that the most important aspect of the sacrifice bunt is patience.  Waiting for the ball can be hard in a game that consists of speed in almost every other aspect.  Being able to wait and then make minor adjustments depending on the flight of the ball takes practice and patience while focusing on bunting rather than getting to hit if you miss the ball

  • Narrow Focus – catching the ball with the bat
  • Confidence – able to contact almost any pitch
  • Concentration – focusing on the ball and contact point
  • Emotional Control – focusing task at hand without distractions
  • Relaxation – not too stiff on contact to avoid popping up the ball

Some Psychological Challenges for sacrifice bunting

Technical Factors

Improvement Strategies

afraid to pop the ball up

ensure proper mechanics

can’t comprehend sacrifice

coach takes responsibility

don’t want to bunt

importance of team work

have not had success

look for small successes

Physical Requirements

Balance and coordination are important in sacrifice bunting.  There is no strength and power are not required in the execution except for when leaving the batter’s box.  Speed is essential for running out the bunt because you never know how the defense is going to field or play the ball.

  • Coordination – movement to bunt position
  • Speed – possibly obtaining a base hit from the bunt
  • Balance – able to maintain position until bunt is executed
  • Reaction Time – ability to instinctively know where to go on the bunt

Some Physical Challenges for sacrifice bunting

Technical Factors

Improvement Strategies

coordination

practice

reaction time

agility drills

balance

use boards / benches

Performance Outcome Factors

Every softball skill is executed with a desired outcome.  That outcome however can be broken down just as the skill itself is.  Here are some expected outcomes that you might have for bunting.

Expected Outcome

Mechanics / Biomechanics

ball lands in fair territory

upper body is square to pitcher

ball lands in the desired area

bottom of bat hits top of ball

runner advances

ball is absorbed using arms

batter gets on base

bat is on top of the strike zone

no double play

appropriate timing

Interventions

As coaches, error detection and correction is what we do.  There is a time and a place however for that activity to occur.  During competition is generally not the time.  Following is a few recommended paths you can take to help your players improve their skills.

Intervention

Timing

Break down the skill

During practice

Kinesthetic feedback

During practice

Skill instruction

During practice

Provide a mentor

During practice