What I Know and Remember About Baseball - The Eyes Have It

By: Mitchell Dowdy

Eating carrots to develop good eye sight is sound advise. Unfortunately there is a little more to developing how your eyes move in relation to playing Baseball. Albeit there are many persons with natural ability use their eyes in tracking there target, still the normal reaction is to move the entire head and in the worst case, the entire body.

Sit for a moment and pick two objects 5 to 10 feet away from you about 6 to 10 feet apart. You should be able to comfortably see both at the same time. Now pick one to focus on. As quick as you can, turn your head to the second object and note the time it takes to select it. Now, start with your original target, hold your head still and move your eyes only to the second target.

Unless you have quick twitch muscles throughout your body like a Barry Bonds, you should have noticed that it takes much less time to move your eyes than it does your head. That is because your eyes can move up to 5 times faster than your neck.

The speed at which you tract a target relates to your brain how much information you gather about the target and the perceived speed of the target. Occasionally experts will discuss how great baseball hitters and fielders see the ball well enough to slow it down. By allowing your eyes to make the most of the movement you gather more information and the perceived speed slows down. You now have the information to react sooner, get into position quicker and let your developed eye - hand coordination complete the desired result.

Focus on the object, in our case a baseball, is easier and far more comfortable when you have given some time to teach your eyes what you expect of them. Active vision training is not difficult. As players progress and the speed increases, active vision is essential for the next phase, prediction.

When a pitcher hurls the ball at 90+ mph there is only a fraction of a second with which to pick up the ball and determine where to swing the bat. Some have theorized that the last two one hundredths of a second, when the ball meets the bat, even the best players cannot see that moment. So how do they hit it? The information presented by their vision helps their body predict where the ball will be. More information, better prediction, better batting average.

Baseball vision training does not have to be a grueling process. Simple exercises such as sitting still and tossing a ball in the air and catching it while keeping your head still is an excellent beginning. Then move on to standing with the baseball going higher. Mix it up with left to right movement bearing in mind to track the ball with your eyes only.

An advanced drill that is a lot of fun is to place a ball on three feet of string. Have your player lie flat on their back in a room where you can control the light. As a pendulum, swing the ball back and forth and give the catch command at which point your player grasps the ball quickly with both hands. To add difficulty, swing the ball then have your player close their eyes for a swing or two then give the command. Need more challenge, turn off the light and add a strobe light, laughter will ensue, but it really does work.

Vary the challenges of the drills and the speed of the strobe lights.

For those of the practical persuasion, visit a batting cage. Stand outside the net and mid length of the cage and have your player track the baseball from the machine to the plate. You can see how the longer flight to follow enables a longer task to work from.

Baseballs, batting cages, rain dripping off the gutter even house flies; the act of being still and letting your eyes do the work will develop the players vision. The more they see, the easier everything becomes.

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