In the game of Fastpitch softball where pitching duels can dominate a game offensive execution becomes a major priority, and its the smallest of these offensive softball skills that often carries the most importance; the sacrifice bunt.
We've all seen this, a close game with a runner at first or a tie game in a tournament game that has run out of time so they place a runner at second using the international tie breaker rule. The softball coach stands in the 3rd base coaching box flashing all sorts of signs, yet everyone in the ballpark knows he or she is telling his or her hitter to move the runner with a sacrifice bunt. The other team being fully aware of the situation tightens up the defensive by strategically moving the infield to attack the play giving the illusion that they can almost reach out and touch the hitter. Understandably the Fastpitch softball hitter begins to feel the pressure and often times this easiest of softball skills becomes a daunting task. To insure a higher percentage of success work on becoming completely comfortable with the softball bunting skills as outlined below and the next time you're in this softball situation you'll face it with complete confidence that you'll get the job done.
Square the Bat at the top of your strike zone
Notice here I didn't say angle your bat, we say square it. What does square the bat mean? Squaring the bat means to have it positioned at "the top of your strike zone and positioned flat across the front line of home plate." Many times we'll see Fastpitch Softball players hold their bats at various angles and the biggest majority of the time this results in a poorly executed bunt or a foul ball.
Let the Ball come to you!
Once you've squared the bat the next habit to break is jabbing or pushing at the ball. A well trained bunter will allow the ball to come to them and then just catch it with the softball bat.
Bunt at only strikes!
Squaring the bat properly and setting the bat at the top of your strike zone will go a long way in this process. Smart pitchers and coaches will call pitches in the upper portion of the strike zone in these situations in hopes of getting the hitter to pop the ball up for an easy out. Understanding that your job is to get the ball down on the ground you are only looking for pitches in your strike zone, with the bat set at the top of your zone should tell you not to bunt at anything higher than where the bat is placed. If the pitch is lower than your bat, but still in the zone simply drop down using your knees, let the ball come to you (do not jab at it!) and catch the top half of the ball with the bat.
Working on perfecting these 3 tips and you'll see this very important part of your game improve. Lastly, remember that a squeeze bunt is nothing more than a late sacrifice bunt with the exception that you must get the bat on the pitched ball to protect the runner.