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  • Bunting to avoid a strike out.

    I am looking for a way to get the ball in play by players at the bottom of my line up who are having trouble making contact and I am reading a book that advocates bunting on the 3rd strike as a way for young ballplayers to avoid striking out. Bunting on the 3rd strike is kind of taboo. What do you think of the strategy of having batters swing away on the first two strikes and bunting on the 3rd-especially for weak hitters that are struggling with making contact?

    Any other strategies?
    Last edited by baseballdad; 05-16-2008, 06:54 AM.

  • #2
    Who's the idiot who wrote the book? This is the way out for coaches who can't teach the game. Learn how to teach hitting and teach the kids. They're never going to learn to hit if you don't let them swing the bat. You will drive them away from the game. Do you have the weak arms roll the ball across the infield. I'm sorry. But these kind of cop out questions tick me off. These kind of coaches should either learn how to teach the game or get out.

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    • #3
      Not good advice.
      So you have a few poor batters? Can I ask what are the symptoms?
      There are a few ways to handle kids that aren't good at batting. This forum can get too technical for the age of the kids you coach, but we can give it a crack.

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      • #4
        Well it isn't like I don't teach hitting and they arn't being allowed to swing. And by the way, I'm not a pro coach, maybe I should not be on this forum, just a Dad trying to coach a rec league team.

        These are 10 year olds mostly. I would say that the most common problem is that they are not loading up properly before the pitch is thrown so many are not really prepared to swing. So some are swinging late and few just arn't swinging at all in game situations and going for the walk. Some have expressed an interest in bunting but to date I've been telling them I'd like to see them swing away and hit before they try to bunt. After reading this book (I don't have the author on the tip of my tongue) I thought maybe I would try letting them bunt.
        Last edited by baseballdad; 05-16-2008, 08:26 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by baseballdad View Post
          I am looking for a way to get the ball in play by players at the bottom of my line up who are having trouble making contact and I am reading a book that advocates bunting on the 3rd strike as a way for young ballplayers to avoid striking out. Bunting on the 3rd strike is kind of taboo. What do you think of the strategy of having batters swing away on the first two strikes and bunting on the 3rd-especially for weak hitters that are struggling with making contact?

          Any other strategies?
          In bunt situations, I'm not against bunting with 2 strikes. I always figure, what's the difference, striking out by swinging and missing, or bunting a foul ball? If you really need a bunt - then bunt!

          But, bunting just to put the ball in play because you are not convinced the kid has the skills to swing and make contact is just a cop out. If you're the coach, you have an obligation to make the kids better ball players. Besides, what kind of message are you sending that kid?

          Teach 'em to hit the ball! Teach 'em to bunt! Teach 'em to run the bases properly. Teach 'em to throw and catch properly. Teach 'em the game!

          David Emerling
          Memphis, TN
          Last edited by Memphis; 05-16-2008, 08:39 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by baseballdad View Post
            I would say that the most common problem is that they are not loading up properly before the pitch is thrown so many are not really prepared to swing. So some are swinging late and few just arn't swinging at all in game situations and going for the walk.
            Just posted this in another thread. I've had success with 7-8 yo's using this analogy, don't see why it wouldn't work with 10 yo's.

            I like to use a slingshot analogy. I ask a kid, if you had a slingshot in your hand and I told you to shoot it, how long would it take you? I step them through the process of loading the slingshot, pulling it back and firing it - probably a few seconds worth of activity before they can get the shot off. Then I ask them, what if you already had the slingshot loaded, pulled back, and aimed? How long then? Of course it would be instantaneous. Then I relate their hands to a slingshot - if you pull them back, they're ready to go. The slingshot idea also helps them to avoid excess bat wrapping, because you pull a slingshot straight back, you don't wind it up. This seems to really turn the light bulb on for most kids. Just telling them "Hands back!" doesn't do much if they don't understand why.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by baseballdad View Post
              Well it isn't like I don't teach hitting and they arn't being allowed to swing. And by the way, I'm not a pro coach, maybe I should not be on this forum, just a Dad trying to coach a rec league team.
              dad,
              Keep learning how to teach hitting and keep the players swinging. Not much good can come from bunting your way through a season. I would rather see youngdters take their hacks than try to avoid swinging.
              Jake
              "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
              - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
              Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by baseballdad View Post
                Well it isn't like I don't teach hitting and they arn't being allowed to swing. And by the way, I'm not a pro coach, maybe I should not be on this forum, just a Dad trying to coach a rec league team.
                Baseballdad
                I share your pain. I coach 11U rec baseball. We emphasize hitting in each practice and I've held more batting practices than most teams in our league combined. I still have a couple of kids that will not pull the trigger. Yes, it's frustrating but the biggest thing to realize is that you can only do so much in the (limited) time you have with the kids. As has been suggested, concentrate on getting them to just swing and encourage every time they do. Celebrate every success like they just hit a walk-off homer, even if it's just a foul tip. This has worked for a couple of the kids who are now swinging agressively and getting some hits. The quickest way to shut a kid down is to get on him for swinging at a pitch that may be out of the strike zone. Every swing is a good swing when they are struggling.

                I'm also very careful to congratulate them on swinging strike outs. Kids this age take striking out personally instead of a necessary aspect of the game. I make sure to let them know they are doing a great job, especially if they're swinging, and to concentrate on the next time they'll be at the plate.

                The above is obviously not intended for more advanced/HS/etc. ball players but was instead geared toward the specific situation of baseballdad. YMMV.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TG Coach View Post
                  Who's the idiot who wrote the book? This is the way out for coaches who can't teach the game. Learn how to teach hitting and teach the kids. They're never going to learn to hit if you don't let them swing the bat. You will drive them away from the game. Do you have the weak arms roll the ball across the infield. I'm sorry. But these kind of cop out questions tick me off. These kind of coaches should either learn how to teach the game or get out.
                  The book is John T. Reed's "Youth Baseball Coaching".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by baseballdad View Post
                    The book is John T. Reed's "Youth Baseball Coaching".
                    I remember this name from a previous year. He writes "How To's" without ever having been there and done it. Telling kids to bunt with two strikes rather than teaching them to hit is horrible advice. Why not just have them take every pitch and hope they walk (yes it was sarcasm)?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TG Coach View Post
                      I remember this name from a previous year. He writes "How To's" without ever having been there and done it. Telling kids to bunt with two strikes rather than teaching them to hit is horrible advice. Why not just have them take every pitch and hope they walk (yes it was sarcasm)?
                      ... or turn into every pitch hoping to get hit by a pitch...
                      The object of hitting is HITTTING!!!

                      I agree with TG - Terrible advice.
                      "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                      - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                      Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Bunting is not a for sure thing anyways. If you do it on the third strike and bunt it foul or tip it your still out.....

                        Might as well go down swinging. I mean hitting is the best part of the game if you ask me.
                        “If there was ever a man born to be a hitter it was me.” - Ted Williams
                        "Didn't come up here to read. Came up here to hit." - Hank Aaron

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                        • #13
                          baseballdad,

                          What do you think of Reed's other batting points? Swinging with a lighter bat, bat discipline, his stuff on pages 119 & 120 really helped our team out, and I use that approach with all of my teams.
                          3rd strike bunting has it's place, just don't become predictable with it.

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                          • #14
                            Yeah, I'm familiar with Reed. He's a semi-nut job out here in Northern California. He preaches avoiding batting practice and teaching kids not to swing at pitches that aren't right down the middle. It's more about the winning than the learning for him. That bunting idea is one for the books, though.

                            BBDad, don't apologize for participating here because you're not a "pro coach" but just a dad helping out. That's all that almost all of us are here. Go ahead and throw ideas and and, if people take shots at them, you've learned something. It's not like anyone is questioning your sincerity. As for me, I'd rather talk about working with kids who are really at square one than I would about big studs who are going to be successful regardless of any tips that I could give them.

                            Yes, kids have trouble swinging on time or swing at all, for that matter. For most, it's a matter of getting them to swing a lot and in a lot of different settings -- off a tee, with wiffle balls, against machines, against coaches, against teammates and, finally, in games. And there will be that moment where the sequence clicks and the kid hits it, and his improvement will be start to build with the confidence that brings. Reward the small stuff -- if they set up right and pull the trigger at the right time, whatever happens thereafter is all in God's hands, so they should be praised for a good approach regardless of the outcome.
                            sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                            • #15
                              We have 4 players on our team that are poor hitters. The coach has tried. 2 of then hit on base 2 times so far. 1 has gotten a foul tip a few times. But they mostly just strike out. I think it would be fun for the boys just to be able to put the ball in play a few times. This could also improve their confidence and timing. Id say let them bunt a few at bats. At least they can go home after a game and say I put it in play instead of striking out.

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