Study Snipers To Slow Down Deluge Of Walks

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

CORONADO, Calif. — Have you ever wondered why trained, military snipers can hit their target with precision one mile away but pitchers fail over and over again at hitting their mark from 60 feet 6 inches?

If you don’t realize it, college baseball is facing an epidemic of walks on all levels, and it has been common to see teams post eight or more walks game after game.

In the recent NCAA Div. I statistics, it showed 14 different teams which walked 15-20 batters in a game this season.

Overall, there have been 16,540 walks on this level in 3,557 games.

Remember this is the highest level in college baseball.

According to Kenny Kendrena of Inside Edge, a company that specializes in precision statistics for professional baseball teams, data from all 2014 Major League Baseball games revealed that pitchers only hit their intended target 24 percent of the time.

This statistic is consistent year after year.

The way Inside Edge defines this is either the catcher’s glove didn’t move, or it was within one baseball width from the glove.

“People will think that is a low number, I’m sure,” said Kendrena.

“But if they watch games closely, they will see that it’s very accurate. Pitchers don’t hit their intended spot as often as one would think.”

Keep in mind this success rate of 24 percent is for the elite pitchers in the world.

College and high school pitchers obviously miss at an even lower percentage.

Nearly 10 years ago, I wrote an article about why snipers are so successful in hitting their targets. That information is still relevant today.

I ran a search on Google which brought up the U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Training Program in PDF format.

So I scoured through the 314-page document and found some fascinating gems that will undoubtedly help baseball pitchers.

Beyond this information, I purchased the book American Sniper written by Chris Kyle. And he had some insight into why snipers can concentrate so well even in the harshest weather conditions.

In addition, Dr. Bill Harrison, who has worked on vision training with more professional baseball players than anyone in history, chimes in on how pitchers can gain better command of pitches.

Dr. Harrison passed away in 2019 after a 4-year battle with squamous cell skin cancer.

Eye Position Crucial
“In order to see what is required during aiming, the shooter must know how to use his eye,” according to the U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Training Program.

“Variations in the positions of the eye to the telescope will cause variations in the image received by the eye. The placement of the eye in this respect is called eye relief. Proper eye relief is approximately 2-3 inches from the exit pupil of the telescope and can be determined to be correct when the shooter has a full field of view in the telescope with no shadows.

“If the sniper’s eye is located without proper eye relief, a circular shadow will occur in the field of vision, reducing the field size, hindering observation, and, in general, making aiming difficult.

“If the eye is shifted to one side or another of the exit pupil, crescent shaped shadows will appear on the edges of the eyepiece. If these crescent shaped shadows appear, the bullet will strike to the side away from the shadow. Therefore, when the sniper has a full field of view and is focusing on the intersection of the crosshairs, he has aligned his sight.”

Dr. Harrison was asked if any company has ever invented a crosshairs for pitchers to view through that might sharpen their aiming focus.

In the SEAL sniper training program, it is said that having a target quartered with crosshairs maximizes the chance of a hit with the first shot.

“In the early 90s, we worked with the U.S. shooting team,” said Dr. Harrison.

To read more of this in-depth story, purchase the March 24, 2023 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.