Vision Is The Invisible Key To Hitting Well

Special To Collegiate Baseball
(Final Of A 4-Part Series)

HONOLULU, Hawaii — Perhaps the most invisible key to hitting is vision.

Vision is one of the most difficult systems of the body to understand.

Fourteen tiny muscles that are attached and affect all three nervous systems control the eyes.

For these reasons, I asked Dr. Bill Harrison, one of the leading Sports Vision Optometrists in our country, to co-author this section. He passed away almost three years ago.

For nearly 50 years, Dr. Harrison worked in the professional baseball community consulting with the K.C. Royals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the S.F. Giants, Atlanta Braves, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In the baseball optometry world, he knows no equal.

What is the importance of the Visual System? Imagine playing blindfolded. Almost everything a player does begin with what he sees. Baseball is a stimulus-response activity.

Always try to remember that the quality of the response (mechanics of the swing) is directly dependent upon the quality of the stimulus (seeing the ball). “GIGO: garbage in, garbage out.”

From youth baseball to the big leaguers, the coaching profession lacks the where-with-all pertinent visual information and visual effort to help young hitters.

Hitting is the only striking skill that you need not swing. As the ball approaches the player at any given time at bat, a hitter can take from four (0-4 count) to six pitches (2 & 3 full count) and never swing the bat. In other words, hitting technique begins with the decision making process. This process involves the visual system.

Simply, a decision “yes” to swing, or “no” not to swing, depends on the ability of the hitter to: 1) read the pitch at release to the first 20 feet of ball flight; 2) to track the ball to bat-ball contact and adjust along the way; and 3) to know the strike zone.

Therefore, hitting is first a perceptual (visual) skill, and then a motor or mechanical skill.

Great visual skills can overcome mediocre mechanical skills, but visual mediocrity with great mechanics will result in a poor hitter making limited solid contacts.

The visual and mechanical systems go together like “hand-in-glove.” They are equally important, and deserve equal attention.

However, exceptionally good eyes can help overcome some mechanical flaws. That’s why we see some major leaguers with rather poor mechanics still have some degree of success.

If a hitter would improve his visual skills as well as his mechanics, he will dramatically improve his hitting performances.

To read more of this in-depth article on how to become a visual hitter, purchase the March 25, 2022 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.