February 15, 2016
FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. — In the not too distant future, pitchers may have better control than ever if baseball embraces the concepts of two men who are bringing innovative information into the game from the bow hunting and gun industry along with brain research.
The sad reality is that pitchers rarely hit their target. According to Inside Edge, which compiles data from Major League games, pitchers on this level only hit their target 24 percent of the time during the 2014 season. Inside Edge defines hitting a target as the catcher’s glove didn’t move or it was within one baseball width from the glove.
If the best pitchers in the world don’t hit their target 76 percent of the time, it makes you wonder how often college and high school pitchers miss their target.
Military snipers can hit their target with precision up to a mile away, but pitchers fail over and over again at hitting their mark from 60 feet 6 inches.
Collegiate Baseball ran an in-depth story about why snipers are so accurate and pitchers aren’t in the Feb. 6, 2015 edition as the U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Training program was explored with key vision information as well as interviewing noted baseball vision expert Dr. Bill Harrison on the parallels between sniper training and pitching.
A big difference between the two disciplines are that snipers look through a scope with crosshairs to target with precision, and their rifle is completely still along with the sniper’s body and head. A pitcher has many moving body parts as he throws a pitch, including his head, which obviously includes his sighting mechanism with his eyes.
The game of baseball has never had a method to improve the strike percentage of pitchers until now.
Doug Besherse, inventor of The Strike Plate, and Tim Nicely, inventor of V-Flex, have introduced products in the past year that could revolutionize the way pitchers throw strikes with more precision. Both are from Tennessee and have been toying with concepts for these products the past 20 years.
In the first part of this 2-part series, we will delve into the vision concepts being taught by Besherse. This gentleman from Fayetteville, Tenn. has been involved in the disciplines of firing off arrows in archery as well as guns of every type for the past 45 years. He has shot and tested literally every type of bow that has been used for decades.
Besherse is internally known for firing arrows from bows without the aid of an aiming sight. Yet he is one of the most accurate shooters in the world. Since he was six years old, he has aimed and shot at small targets which has resulted in successful hits or small misses.
In fact, aim small, miss small is a well known saying among marksmen. By reducing the size of the area aimed at, the miss is reduced as well.
A former collegiate pitcher and catcher in Central Florida, Besherse came up with a product for pitchers called The Strike Plate which focuses in on this concept. It is a steel pitching target trainer which has rubberized target covers to protect thrown baseballs.
It automatically trains a pitcher to throw the ball precisely to the four corners of the strike zone and away from the middle of the zone. Each of these four targets is a square the diameter of a baseball.
This training devise takes away the illusion of accuracy. If you are missing the target even a little, you know it immediately.
“My background is very unique,” said Besherse.
“I started shooting BB guns when I was really young because I lived on a farm. One day I got my hands on a very inexpensive archery set, and I remember shooting arrows from it in the first or second grade. There was something about it that mesmerized me.
“From that point on, I spent a lot of time shooting some type of firearm or archery equipment. At the same time, I was playing sports as well. All of these activities go hand-in-hand because of the eye-hand coordination involved.
“One of the things I got stuck on was shooting archery equipment without sights. When you shoot an arrow without a sight, your brain programs the flight of that arrow. It becomes an art form almost for the shooter hitting his target.
“You lock into what you want to hit, and the arrow just goes there when everything is clicking properly. People simply don’t understand how I can accomplish this in archery without a sighting mechanism that most people use. But what I do isn’t as difficult as throwing a baseball and hitting a target as a pitcher.
“The question is this. Whether you shooting an arrow through a bow in archery or firing a baseball as a pitcher, how can you make it go where you want it?
“I have spent probably 40 years of my life being involved in baseball in one capacity or another. I was a former pitcher and also was a catcher during my playing days.”
To read more of this special report on the concepts archers have utilized for decades and why this will help pitchers become better strike throwers, purchase the Feb. 12, 2016 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE. Doug Besherse explains some amazing concepts that will be new to pitching coaches and pitchers.