Here’s How To Achieve Great Baseball Vision

Editor/Collegiate Baseball
(First Of A 2-Part Series)

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — Without great vision, no baseball player could excel at the game of baseball.

Then why is little, if any time,  spent training the eyes to see pitches better, fielding the ball more cleanly or training pitchers to have more command with more focused vision?

The late Dr. Bill Harrison, the most renowned visual performance specialist the game of baseball has ever witnessed, spent over 50 years studying how to train the vision of baseball players at the highest level.

He worked with a who’s who list of elite Major League players led by 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, several colleges, universities and academies, including the original Kansas City Royals Baseball Academy.

Vision Of Barry Bonds
In over 50 years of vision testing Major League hitters, Barry Bonds has no equal, according to Dr. Harrison.

Bonds may have had the greatest hitting specific vision of any batter in history the way 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 over 50 years, Barry Bonds is still my gold standard. Barry had the whole picture when it came to all the aspects of vision I look for. He not only could see pitches deep. But over time, he saw the ball early out of the hands of pitchers.

“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.

“So being totally free of thought, being totally unaware of the body and being able to turn the light switch on just as the pitcher releases the ball toward the catcher is vital. When they do that, these premiere hitters aren’t even aware of what the pitcher’s motion is or who the pitcher is a lot of times. Hitters who are really good at this aren’t concerned with a pitcher telegraphing a pitch.”

Dr. Harrison explained what he did with professional baseball players so their vision in games would be enhanced.

To read more of this in-depth article, purchase the April 8, 2022 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.