The sacrifice bunt is a common offensive play to advance a baserunner. Whether moving the runner from 1st to 2nd, or 2nd to 3rd, Bunt Defense is a baseball play that MUST be taught. Ultimately, each team will need one bunt defense play for when a runner is on first as well as when runners are on first and second bases.
The Bunt Defense Drill is the first step in teaching your team about this situation and begins with only a runner at first. It is conducted with infield defense ONLY and provides the opportunity for each athlete to play each position.
EXECUTION – To begin the drill, circle the athletes around you at the mound and describe the situation at hand. Explain the concept of a sacrifice bunt, the defense’s goal of cleanly recording an out, and talk through each defenders responsibility. Then, distribute athletes around the diamond at ALL infield positions (including pitcher and catcher if numbers allow). With athletes rotating after each repetition, EACH player will have the chance to play EACH position before completing the drill. Again, run this drill without baserunners and focus first on defending the bunt with only a runner at first base. Later, you can cover runners at both 1st and 2nd bases, and involve live bunting.
Walk-Through – After explaining the play at the pitching mound and distributing athletes to each infield position, practice the defensive play at a walking pace so all athletes can see, hear, and feel the proper steps of execution. Rotate once or twice so that all are familiar with the steps of correct execution before adding pace and using the coaching verbals.
Repetitions – Now, it’s time to practice. Begin each play by going around the diamond (position-by-position) and having each athlete shout out his role in defending the bunt with a man on first. Any extra athletes can wait in the dugout or in an on-deck area off of the diamond. Rotating after each play, each athlete will play each position before the drill is over.
Coach: “First base, what is YOUR responsibility?”
Athlete: Insert appropriate response here
- 1B – Hold runner, be vocal: “BUUUUNT” – Once the pitcher goes towards home plate and the hitter squares to bunt, the first baseman CAN charge. However, there’s value in having the pitcher cover the first base side of the diamond. Keep the first baseman back so the pitcher can field a bunt on that side.
- 2B – Cover first – Needs to be present to take throw if first baseman can’t get back to the bag.
- SS – Cover second
- 3B – Crash – With no need to cover the third base bag, the third baseman should be encouraged to charge hard!
- P – Cover 1st base side – Because the first baseman must hold the runner on, the pitcher’s responsibility is to field bunts on the first base side.
- C – Be Vocal, grab short bunt: “2, 2! or 1, 1!” – Because the catcher can see the entire field in front of him (and specifically the runner headed from first to second), the catcher must be vocal to direct the throw.
- Start Slow – First time through this drill, may only get through “man on 1st.” Eventually, team needs to cover “man on 1st & 2nd”
- Anticipate – “Think the game” and know your role before each pitch.
- Be Flexible – Number of players dictate if you’ll have P or C. Age and ability dictate if you’ll cover more than a runner at 1st base.
- GROUP DISCUSSION ON MOUND
- QUIZ - POSITION BY POSITION ROLES
- REPS - ROTATE AFTER EACH PLAY
- START SLOW - MAN ON 1ST
- ANTICIPATE - KNOW YOUR ROLE
- BE FLEXIBLE COACH!
- Baseball Buckets1