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the object og baseball hitting vision

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

baseball coaching tips ~ from the dugout, are you seeing the baseball?

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!

The late H.A Dorfman

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?

pitcher clear, background fuzzy

  • The pitcher starts into his delivery, as a hitter your focus tunes in on the pitcher himself, the background becomes a fuzzy blur.

pitcher, power position

  • The pitcher will go from that balance point to this power position, where the baseball is extended behind him. As he starts forward with the baseball, the hitter shifts focus to the pitcher's release point, the spot where he will release the baseball.

  • Hitters will have determined where that point is by watching him pitch to previous hitters, warming up in the bullpen, or taking his warmup pitches on the field.

  • The job at hand is to shift focus to that spot, pick up the baseball clearly as it comes out of his hand, maintaining that focus while tracking the ball all the way to the hitting zone, all with that same clear focus on the ball.

see the ball clearly at the pitcher's release point and all the way to the hitting zone.
see the ball clearly at the pitcher's release point and all the way to the hitting zone.

  • Both pitchers above are at their release points, both similar spots; but somewhat different angle. As a hitter, at this point, you should see only the baseball, the pitcher should become a blur.

    If this is what you see coming, you are in trouble
    Ball out of his hand should look like this to you, all the way to the plate.

  • Picture on the left is a train wreck headed straight at you.

  • Picture on the right is what you should be seeing out of the pitcher's hand. With this vision, you are standing on level ground with the pitcher.

  • For your focus to be intense and sharp, at the point of release of the baseball, the only object in the picture that is clear would be the baseball.

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

everyone in this picture has the same job, to be locked in and see the baseball

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


They hand you a round bat, someone throws a round ball at you, and they tell you to square it up!

Fear Of Being Hit

Providing them with a plan to minimize the perceived danger of getting hit, the steps to concentrate and hit the ball hard, creating good hop ground balls for themselves, and the rules of thumb for catching a baseball safely, all increase confidence and cause success levels to rise.

Proven team approach

An approach that enabled our players to put the ball in play early and often, a recipe for success

Keys to success

We don't miss these pitches and we don't try to do too much ( Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, John Olerud )

MLB's Top 20 Hitters For 2009

Hitting splits for the top 20 hitters in MLB for 2009

Batter development

One valuable goal is to coach players to become their own best hitting coach

Batting Average Analysis

What it can tell you to help create a positive hitting plan

Rookie progressions

Keep it fun and simple, encourage them to turn it loose and swing

Advanced progressions

Watching batting styles of professional baseball players one might assume that anything goes, in relation to pre-pitch movement

Hitting The Situation

A key part of teamwork and offensive production

return from baseball hitting vision to

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