Why is it called a fungo bat? How to hit with a fungo bat?

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Do you have any experience playing or coaching baseball? Have you ever practiced ground balls? If so, then you must have heard a little about Fungo bats and might be looking to learn more. In this article, we will answer the question “Why is it called a fungo bat ?” with more details.


Why is it called a fungo bat?

It is derived from the Scottish word fung meaning to pitch, toss, or fling. This would make sense, as fungo bats are designed to do just that.

A Fungo bat

You must have heard the phrase, “practice makes a man perfect” and it goes perfectly for baseball as well. That’s why fungos are best for hours of practice to help during infield and outfield drills with more consistency and less fatigue.

Unlike traditional bats, fungoes are often made of birch wood and are longer and lighter. The word fungo refers to throwing a ball into the air and hitting it with a bat when it falls. Its origin is from the Scottish word fung meaning to pitch, toss, or fling because fungos are designed to do the same.

Instead of hitting pitches or off a tee, fungos are specially made to hit balls that are thrown into the air. They can even be swung with one hand. The light weight quality of fungos allows the coaches to hit the ball repeatedly without quickly becoming fatigued from swinging a full-size bat.


What is the purpose of a fungo bat?

If you are looking for an essential tool for field practice, then fungo bats are the best choice for you. Before an illegal game, infielders and outfielders can easily practice hitting grounders and pop-flies with this bat.

Fungos are usually used by coaches. This kind of bat is often used every day in their workouts due to its light weight. Infielders use shorter fungos, while outfielders use longer fungos to hit pop flies and grounders. Some of its incredible benefits are as follows:

Why is called a fungo bat

Image: Why is called a fungo bat

  • Less Fatigue: A proper fielding practice requires hundreds of balls thrown to the fielders on repetition. As fungos are much lighter, they allow coaches to practice as much as they want without getting too tired. This is the primary reason why coaches all over the world prefer this tool for coaching.
  • Improved accuracy and Swing Speed: Coaches can strike the balls more precisely thanks to fungos. They can easily send the balls exactly where they want them for a particular drill. This improved accuracy is another reason behind the popularity of fungos.
  • Durability and budget-friendly: Teams can keep their standard bats for games and avoid their wear and tear by using fungos during the drill. The fact that fungos are only used with tossed balls—not thrown pitches or balls from pitching machines—means they are durable as well.


Important article: Top 7 Best Fungo Bats For Practice & Training


How to hit with a fungo bat?


The fungo bat is made to strike flying balls rather than pitched balls. Most coaches throw the ball upwards, hold it in one hand, grasp the bat with both hands, and swing just in time to hit the ball to their infielders or outfielders. The most key step in using a fungo to hit fly balls is perfecting your swing, and for that, you need to adhere to these easy steps for it:

  • Purchase the right fungo: Remember, hitting with fungos requires a lot of practice! If you have never played before, start today by training with a friend at home before going to the field. Find a fungo that you can comfortably hold because they come in a variety of sizes and forms for various players.
  • Significance of proper technique: When you are comfortable with the fundamentals of batting and using a fungo, you may take your abilities outside to play baseball with friends or family. Remember to use proper technique when hitting with the fungo bat so that you do not hurt yourself or others on the field.
  • Hit at the right time: Hold the bat vertically, make a short, clean backswing, and let go of the ball just before it reaches your foot.
  • Keep your focus intact: Focus on swinging at strikes instead of fouls when using a fungo to increase your chances of hitting fly balls. You can use the fungo to hit grounders, pop flies, and even long fly balls during batting practice or games because it is simpler to use than a standard baseball bat. Also, remember that before using the fungo, make sure you have all the necessary tools: batting gloves and a pitch.

Some additional tips on how to hit with a Fungo Bat:

  • Practice swing and pathfinding: Start by standing in front of the batting cage with your feet shoulder-width apart and use a fungo bat to hit fly balls. The fungo’s barrel should be parallel to the ground and placed at a degree angle on the ground. Keeping your back straight, extend your arm all the way out while holding the fungo handle in your palm at the end.
  • Keeping your back straight, swing your arm forward until your palm makes contact with the fungo bat’s barrel. Swing the fungo until your arm is fully extended, then release the handle to let the bat swing freely in front of you.
  • Adjust the tungo for your strength and skill level: You must first adjust the bat to your strength and level of expertise. You can also change the grip on the bat to make hitting with fungos easier or harder.
  • When hitting fly balls, maintain your back upright, eyes on the ball, and hands at your sides. So that you have more control over where the bat goes, keep your feet firmly planted on the ground while hitting.

See more: How to tape a fungo bat 

What material is a fungo baseball bat made of?

Fungos are available in the following two materials:

  • Wood Fungo Bat
  • Aluminium Fungo Bat

Why is called a fungo bat

Wood fungo bat

The most common and traditional bat used by coaches is the wooden fungo. The wooden fungo provides the couch control over speed and direction. You can also easily customize wood fungo bats without worrying about their annoying sounds. However, this fungo type require a lot of extra care.

Aluminum fungo bat

Even though wood fungo baseball bats are the most common type of bat, many trainers prefer metal fungo bats such as aluminum fungos because wood bats require extra care in the off-season. Here are some top benefits of aluminum fungos:

  • They do not break easily as compared to wood bats. So, you do not need to be extra cautious.
  • You can easily store aluminum fungos without worrying about the environment. This is the outstanding property of metal
  • The material makes them more durable and long-lasting.

Video: Comparison between a fungo bat and a regular bat


Why is a fungo bat different?

The design and construction of these two types of bats are notably different. Fungo bats are thinner, longer, and lighter. This is because fungo bats are designed to hit the balls that are gently tossed in the air. The balls hit with the fungo bat have to be, more than anything accurate.

Are fungo bats legal?

Fungo bats are neither legal or illegal. They’re just not designed for use in game situations. Because they’re so light and thin, they would break very quickly against game speed pitching.

Because fungo bats are longer and thinner, they can break more easily, so it’s important to protect the fungo bat by taping it. The taping will prolong the lifespan of the fungo bat, which is prone to splitting at the wood grains. You can tape the bat at the fat end by starting about an inch above the bat logo
Fungos are used to hit balls to practice infield and outfield by MLB coaches. The fungs are usually long, like 37 inches, skinny, and swing light. A coach with a lot of skill can place a ball about wherever they want with a fungo.


Using fungos has been a staple in baseball for more than two centuries and they have over and over proven their value in fielding practices. If you haven’t used a fungo bat before, use it now and you will get to know about this versatile practice tool.

To be clear, fungo bats are not intended to be used for swing practice. They are designed so that coaches can crash balls around the field without becoming tired. Whatever the benefits and drawbacks of using fungo bats for practice, one thing is for sure: they have earned their place in the arena of basketball.


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