It takes only four-tenths of a second for a fastball to reach home plate which is only 60 ft 6 inches away. A hitter has an average of about two tenths of a second to decide whether to swing or not which means the hitter has only two-tenths of a second to process this visual information and react. The hitter has to recognize whether a pitch is located on the inside or outside part of the plate, recognize a breaking or off-speed pitch. The highest level of athletes can process this information quicker which gives them more time to make adjustments to their swing. Ichiro Suzuki has gone on to say,
” You can only hit when the information picked up by your optic nerve is processed by your brain and then transmitted accurately to your body. If your eyes can’t pick it up, then you can forget about good results”.
Try this eye exercise
So we now have come to know that it doesn’t matter how sound your mechanics are, how good your approach is or if you have plus- plus power. You can’t hit what you can’t see. One of the biggest differences between an advanced hitter and an average hitter is his ability to use his eyes in an effective way. He has to be able to compute what he sees and react to it quickly enough. It is well-known that athletes have better vision capabilities than the general population but through proper dieting and consistent vision exercises, your vision skills can be improved.
What you can do to improve your vision skills will be explained in a bit.
Baseball requires for players to have a unique set of vision abilities as well. In order to hit we have to judge, pitch rotation, velocity, in order to bunt accurately we have to have the correct depth perception. What is a common misconception about baseball is that there isn’t a difference between good eyesight and good vision skills. THERE IS!!!!!!! How good your “eye-sight” is determined by your ability to interpret information and surroundings from visible light reaching the eyes. Visual skills, on the other hand, determines a whole other set of attributes which can all be improved to become more consistent hitters. Think about what increasing your vision skills can do to your batting average!!
So essentially depth perception is your ability to perceive objects in three dimensions. More importantly, it allows you to judge an object’s speed and distance. In order to have efficient depth perception, you MUST be able to use your eyes simultaneously. The more functional your eyes work together, the better the results.
Visual Tracking is the process of your eyes measuring their point of gaze or the motion of the eye relative to the head. Visual Tracking is important for a hitter to see more effectively how the defense is playing you. Visual tracking is something that all successful quarterbacks have in common. Being able to scan the field in a more effective way will allow you to respond quicker and more accurately to external stimuli on the field.
Speed of eye dilation
Similar to other visual skills, the speed at which a baseball player ‘s eyes are able to focus can be trained and improved overtime. The ability for your eyes to dilate will affect your ability to pick up a pitch coming in the zone. The closer the ball gets to you the more your eyes dilate, thus the faster your eyes are able to dilate, it will also increase the time you will have to react.
Visual reaction time ( Optic Nerve Processes)
The optic nerve transmutes visual information from the retina to the brain. Think of your optic nerve process as a computer (essentially that’s what it is) the faster the information is processed the slower the ball will look in the zone. This process functions at its highest when you are relaxed. Have you ever noticed that when you are taking a pitch on a 3-0 count the ball looks bigger and you may even be able to see the seems better? The muscles surrounding the eyes have completely relaxed with very little strain. (Imagine Neo in the Matrix, I wonder how productive his Optic Nerve was:)
In my opinion, between Visual flexibility and Optic Nerve Processes, these two attributes are the most important vision skills to train. Visual flexibility allows for your eyes to move together to allow sight to become more efficient. Training this will allow a hitter to get his eyes on the ball with more accuracy and in less time.
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