Baseball Hitting Vision ~ How Well Are You Seeing The Baseball?
Old time umpire Bill Klem(1905-1941) once stated,"fix your eye on the ball from the moment the pitcher holds it in his glove. Follow it as he throws to the plate and stay with it until the play is completed. Action takes place only where the ball goes."
Mr. Klem's advice is as true today as it was in his era. A players success within the game of baseball will ultimately be determined by how effective they are in seeing the baseball, in all circumstances.
Within our topic here, baseball hitting vision, it is "simply essential".
You won't hit what you don't see; no matter how perfect your swing is!
Tips From The Dugout
The following tips are from the late and great sports psychologist H.A Dorfman, from his book The Mental Keys to Hitting.
Are you seeing the baseball? When things go wrong in the batter's box, before looking for answers to a hitting problem elsewhere, the player should first ask himself this question: Am I seeing the ball well?
If the answer is that he is not, then he must ask, "Why not"? Too often, a hitter who is struggling makes immediate changes to his mechanics ~ to his physical approach. This compounds the difficulty. Kinetic memory - muscle memory - allows a player to have a consistent mechanical approach - unless the player inhibits his muscles by thinking too much. He gets in the way of his natural, physical function. He begins to be what I call a self-conscious hitter, thinking about all manner of things which distract him while in the box. He's got everything on his mind. Everything except the ball!
It's hard to remember that this elemental skill is not only prerequisite to being a good hitter, but without it all other skills are negated. The ability to simplify is the ability to eliminate the unnecessary, so that the necessary may express itself.
Focusing on the ball is simply necessary.
Hitters take for granted that they see the ball, but they don't make the distinction between casual, fuzzy focus and one that is intense and sharp. Just as we can hear without concentrated listening, we can see without having a concentrated clarity.
No one kept it simple as well as Pete Rose. He admitted to not being "a rocket scientist," but he knew instinctively that rocket scientists wouldn't be good hitters. They would think too deeply and too much, and their attention would be divided during their at bats. Thoughts about rocketry and hitting don't get along well in the batter's box. It devides the hitter's attention and decreases the size of the ball proportionate to the attention given to anything but the ball.
Hitters who are thinking about their mechanics, or anything else during their at bats, are no better off than the hypothetical scientists. Such players become mechanical scientists, not effective hitters. They forget what Ralph Waldo Emerson knew - and he wasn't even a hitter. "The eye," he wrote, "obeys exactly the action of the mind".
Want to see the ball better? Think ball!
Players often complain to me that "the game is complicated." I tell them that the game is simple. People are complicated. "Have a plan, relax, see the ball and trust your muscles." Keep it simple, I tell them. That's the challenge. And that is what every exceptional athlete learns to do. Not always, but usually. Using mental discipline, he applies that "simplistic" information to his game. His consistent behavior leads to consistent performance.
Looking Out From The Batter's Box ~ What Do You See?
Each individual in the photo below has exactly the same need and goal, on every pitch; Focus clearly on the baseball and track it all the way to the hitting zone. The batter wants to hit it, the catcher needs to catch it and the umpire has to determine if it is a ball or strike, if it isn't put in play. All can be successful if they simply see the ball
Seeing the baseball is a major hitting skill, taking time and training to achieve. Be conscious of seeing the ball, on deck, in the box, at practice. Everything mechanical that you need has been drilled to mindless reaction in practice, leaving your mind free at game time to focus on seeing the ball.
Additional Hitting Topics
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A key part of teamwork and offensive production
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