Baseball’s Greatest Vision Trainer: Bill Harrison 1

By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — Dr. Bill Harrison was simply the greatest baseball vision training specialist of all time.

He spent more than 50 years studying how to train the vision of athletes at the highest level possible and passed away May 22 after a long, courageous battle with cancer.

This story is a tribute to the amazing work he did which has helped thousands of baseball players perform at a higher level across the USA.

Dr. Harrison worked with a who’s who of great Major Leaguers, including Barry Bonds, George Brett and Greg Maddux, just to name a few.

He’s also worked with more than half of the major league clubs, numerous colleges, universities and academies, including the original Kansas City Royals Baseball Academy.

He taught many Major League hitters, fielders and pitchers how to improve their outward vision and internal vision skills to levels which helped them excel. He was instrumental in educating numerous coaches on the pro level about vision as well as college and high school coaches.

Vision Of Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds had no equal when it came to hitting vision, according to Dr. Harrison.

He could stop from swinging at marginal pitches and go after pitches he could drive hard the vast majority of the time.

“I have a battery of tests which I have performed on Major League players going back to the early ’70s for a number of organizations,” said Dr. Harrison.

“In testing thousands of Major League hitters, Barry Bonds tested out with the highest vision readings of any baseball player we had ever worked with. I first saw him in 1986 during spring training as he came out of A ball after signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization after playing for Arizona State University. He was not considered a legitimate Major League prospect for the Pirates at the time.

“When I tested Barry Bonds, I gathered all the information on him and left the room. Barry is the only player who had achieved 100 percent in each of those categories and subsequently received a 100 percent in terms of high level binocularity. I then talked to Syd Thrift, general manager of the Pirates. I told Syd that the last player I saw (Bonds) was the most visually gifted of all the players I had evaluated since 1971, which was 15 years at the time. I had never seen a baseball player as gifted visually and mentally as this guy.

“Barry Bonds was in AAA for the Pirates’ organization that year. Around May, the Pirates’ AAA team was playing in Phoenix, and Syd Thrift asked me to watch and work with some of the players. I saw Barry in action for the first time, and he looked terrific. That evening, I called Syd and told him this guy really was phenomenal because he visually tracked every pitch, saw it deep and squaring the ball every time. Syd jumped on a plane the next morning for Phoenix.

“In the middle of the contest the next day, Syd called Bonds out of the game and asked the manager to get the young ball player on a plane to Pittsburgh immediately. And the rest was history.

“As I look back at evaluating many hitters on the professional, college and even high school levels for over 50 years, Barry Bonds is still my gold standard.

“All the great hitters I have been around, which include people such as Barry Bonds, George Brett, Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew, among many others, really bought into the idea of seeing the ball right out of the pitcher’s hand. The method of getting there can be variable. It will only happen if the hitter is highly visual. I refer to being highly visual as almost being out of the body as the hitter is totally unaware of what the body is doing. They let their body go on automatic pilot. Generally, it will only work if the athlete is totally thought free.”

To read more of this in-depth article, purchase the Jan. 3, 2020 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. The story delves into what he uncovered to help player vision, why being totally visual is crucial for baseball players, George Brett’s hitting approach, how he would structure practices so hitters would be more visually prepared for game speed pitching. Plus, he explains why live pitching is vital for hitters, good hitting drills and how batters can slow pitches down.