By Don Teig, OD
With the baseball season in full swing, I thought that I would devote this month’s column to the art and science of hitting a baseball. Below, I’ve listed the bullet points I have taught over the past 34 years with over 350 major league players.
- OBJECTIVE: See the ball; Hit the ball!!
- Like all aspects of the game of baseball, these skills should be practiced year round both on and off of the field.
- THE PITCHER’S RELEASE – As the game begins, the batter should identify the type of release (Over the top,/Three-quarter,/ Side armed) that the pitcher has.
- The on deck circle becomes the place that the batter sets the stage for the at-bat to come.
- He should visualize and sub-vocalize a positive picture and thought such as, “I can hit lefties well, I love to hit on this field, I own this pitcher!”
- When the hitter is set in the box, he needs to clear his mind and concentrate on seeing the ball.
- This can be done by seeing in his mind’s eye the letter R in the Rawlings logo on the baseball. He should repeat the letter R, R, R, R in his mind’s eye. This eliminates the distractions that we bring with us to the plate and focuses our attention on the job at hand, which is to see the ball and hit it!!
- Too many players are worried about their batting average, things written in the newspaper, not thinking they could hit this particular pitcher, etc.
- The visual-mental approach must be positive in order to effect a positive physical approach to hitting.
- As the pitcher comes set, the batter should soft center (broad, relaxed focus) on the pitcher’s cap (over the top release); face (3/4 arm release); or chest (side arm pitcher).
- As the pitcher breaks his hands to come to the plate, the batter should make a horizontal shift of his eyes to the release point of the pitcher and pick up the type of pitch out of the pitcher’s hand. This is where the batter is now fine centering (intense focus) on the process of tracking the baseball to his bat.
- Remember, this is much more effective if the batter attempts to look for the letter “R” in Rawlings on the baseball rather than just the baseball. (Note: It is extremely rare for a batter to actually see this letter “R” all the way into the bat.) That’s really not important. What is important is that he visualizes and believes that he is tracking the letter “R” all the way into the bat. This will make him a far better “contact” hitter.
- It goes without saying that if the batter believes that the pitch will be a ball and he chooses not to swing, he must still track the letter “R” on the baseball all the way into the catcher’s glove. This will reinforce the batter’s ability to better keep his eyes on the ball.
Photo: Copyright: toddtaulman / 123RF Stock Photo
Having retired from private practice this year, I am actively traveling the country training practices on how to incorporate the Sports Vision / High Performance Vision niche into their array of specialty services. I am also the Executive Director of a national group of practices who have been trained in this specialty. We call ourselves “The A Team” – High Performance Vision Associates. For more information on my Consulting Program or “The A Team” I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or DonTeig@HighPerformanceVisionAssociates.com.