Bunting is an essential aspect of a competitive softball offense.  The shorter field in softball makes mastering the skill of bunting a must for putting pressure on the opponent’s defense.  Here we will start with the fundamentals of the sacrifice bunt and transition to the slap bunt (hit).

Bunting Fundamentals


There are five kinds of bunts and each is designed to accomplish a different objective. They are the sacrifice, squeeze, slap, drag, and push. Each of these is an effective tool for an offense and should be learned by all players. However, the most important type of bunt to master is the sacrifice bunt. The following describes the fundamentals for each type of bunt. Bunting is allowed and should be taught in the recreation league beginning with the Instructional Division. It is allowed and should be taught to all age groups in the Travel Division.

Sacrifice Bunt – The primary objective of the sacrifice bunt is to advance a runner currently on base. The steps of bunting include Pivot, Contact, and Follow-Through.

– Pivot

  • The batter should begin with the normal batting stance.
  • When the pitcher begins her motion, the batter should pivot on both feet so that the upper body is squared up to the pitcher. The knees should be bent to bring the eyes more in line with the ball. The feet should not move from their original position except to pivot allowing the upper body to turn.
  • During the pivot, the batter’s top hand should slide up the bat to the base of the barrel. It should form a fist with the thumb cradling the bat opposite the forefinger. It should remain behind the bat to help protect the fingers from getting hit by the incoming pitch. The bottom hand should remain gripped on the bat.
  • The batter should position the bat at the top of the strike zone, parallel to the ground, and in front of the plate.

– Contact

  • The batter should attempt to catch the ball with the bat. The arms should give upon impact so that the ball doesn’t rebound hard and turn into a ground ball easily fielded by the defense.
  • Since the bat is setup at the top of the strike zone, the batter should pull the bat back for any pitches that are above the bat.
  • For pitches below the bat and in the strike zone, the batter should bend the knees while keeping the bat at eye level to move the bat down to make contact.
  • The batter should direct the ball down either baseline by pulling the bottom hand toward the body or pushing the bottom hand away from the body while it is on the bat grip.

– Follow-Through

  • Once the ball has been contacted, the batter should discard the bat away from the ball and defensive players. The batter should take care not to interfere with the ball while running to first base. Interference can occur if the bat falls on the ball or if the batter runs into the ball.
Squeeze Bunt – The primary objective of the squeeze bunt is to score the runner from third base. This is a dangerous play because if the batter does not successfully bunt the ball, the runner attempting to score from third base will be easily out at the plate. To prevent this, the batter must bunt the ball no matter where it is pitched.

  • The squeeze bunt uses the same technique as the sacrifice bunt with two exceptions:
    1. To keep the element of surprise, the batter should square at the moment the ball leaves the pitchers hand.
    2. The batter should execute the bunt with the next pitch, no matter what the location.
  • The runner must trust that the ball will be bunted successfully and should break for home plate on the release of the pitch.

NOTE: A variation of the squeeze bunt is the safety squeeze. In this variation, the runner gets a big lead at third base but does not break toward the plate until the ball is bunted.

Slap Bunt – The primary objective of the slap bunt is to get a base hit. The batter attempts to trick the defense into vacating the middle infield positions as would occur on a regular bunt. At that point, the batter attempts to hit the ball into one of the vacated positions.

  • The slap bunt begins exactly the same as the sacrifice bunt.
  • However, just as the pitch is released, the batter should return her hand to its original position on the bat while returning the bat into a swing position. The hands should be positioned at ear level once the bat is returned. The batter should attempt to hit the ball on the ground using a downward swing path into either ally vacated by the short stop or second baseman.
Drag Bunt – The primary objective of the drag bunt is to get a base hit. The batter attempts to surprise the defense by waiting longer to square. The fundamentals of the drag bunt are different for right handed and left handed hitters.

– Right Handed Hitter

  • The batter should begin with her normal batting stance.
  • As the pitch is released, the batter should simultaneously take a small step backward with her rear foot while positioning the bat for the bunt.
  • The batter should take a small step towards first base while bunting the ball.

NOTE: The batter must not step on home plate while bunting the ball to avoid being called out.

– Left Handed Hitter

  • The batter should begin with her normal batting stance.
  • As the pitch is released, the batter should move her front foot backwards under her body to set herself in motion.
  • She should then simultaneously cross her back foot over the front foot in an aggressive move toward the pitcher while positioning the bat for the bunt.
  • The batter should bunt the ball and continue her motion toward first base.
Push Bunt – The primary objective of the push bunt is to get a base hit. It can be used when the defense is aggressively defending against the bunt. The goal is the push the bunt past a hard charging defender.

  • The push bunt should be executed in the same manner as the sacrifice bunt.
  • However, as the ball reaches the batter, she should aggressively push the bat forward sending the ball past the hard charging defender.

Sacrifice Bunting Video

Slap Bunting

When you are first learning the basics of slap hitting, you should begin by understanding the proper footwork required. This will not only help you more consistently make contact with the ball, but also increase your on base percentage because you will leave the batters box more quickly helping you beat the throw to first.

As the pitch approaches you want to take a slight, no more than a foot, step back towards the catcher with your front foot. This step is important to help you get the proper timing and rhythm for your swing. Next you want to take your back foot and crossover your front foot towards the pitcher. It is extremely important that you step towards the pitcher and not towards first base. You don’t want to start moving in the direction of first until you have made contact with the ball, at which point you want to explode into a full sprint. You will do this by driving off your back foot (which is now planted in front) and taking your next step down the first baseline.

When you are first learning to slap you should begin by choking up on your grip, but as you become more advanced you will start with a normal grip and choke up as you swing. This is because you don’t want to give away that fact that you will be slapping until the last possible moment. You will begin the swing as you are taking your step towards the pitcher. You want to be sure to keep your hands inside the ball and your front shoulder square with the pitcher and facing downwards.

Hands and Shoulders:

The slap hitter must turn her hips to the pitcher while keeping her shoulders square to the ball. The hands start out high and close to the body. The slap swing is slow, smooth and inside out — and slightly downward on the ball. Contact is made deep in the strike zone, not out in front. The top hand releases on the follow through. The classic slap swing dumps a slow ground ball to the left side of the infield, allowing the batter to beat the throw to first base. The slapper can’t open up too soon, since that would make it impossible to reach pitches on the outside corner.

Placing the Slap Bunt:


The slapper will also look to dump bunts down the third base line on her way out of the box. Some coaches advocate a one-arm bunt to make this happen — extending the bat over the plate with the left arm while heading forward. Also, the slapper can change her bat angle and “drag” a bunt up the first line. Bunts directly in front of the plate, beyond the easy reach of the catcher, are also very effective.

The Power Slap

The “power slap” must also be used to keep defenses honest. In this case, the batter uses the crossover step but takes a full swing to drive the ball through the pulled-in infield. This tactic is a nice change-up to keep defenses honest.

In addition to the slap, bunt and power slap, a hitter should also use a conventional left-handed swing (if possible) with her feet planted to keep the fielders honest. The stance and box positioning should remain the same for each approach, so as not to tip off the fielders


The skilled slapper becomes adept at directing the ball away from defenders. For instance, “punching” the ball over the slap defense (third baseman, shortstop and second baseman all in) is another effective play. The slap can be especially effective with a runner on first, since the shortstop is hard-pressed to defend the steal and the slap at the same time. Since slappers keep their hands back, they can learn how to guide the ball through infield holes.


Slap Bunting Video with Jessica Mendoza

Slap Bunting Fundamentals Video

Slap Bunting Mechanics Video

Slap/Chop Hitting Instructional Video

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