It’s now Day 7 in the 21 Day Challenge. How have you been doing so far? Today’s task is to train your vision.
You Can’t Hit What You Can’t See
How much better of a player could you be if you could see the ball better? It takes an 85 mph pitch approximately .425 seconds to reach the hitting zone. That’s less than half of a second. That means that the sooner you can pick up the ball out of the pitcher’s hand, the better chance you have at reading what type of pitch it is and then deciding whether or not to swing. That’s a lot to do in under half of a second. And that’s just for the hitter.
What about infielders and outfielders reading the ball off the bat? Catchers reacting to a wild pitch in the dirt? Infielders seeing a ground ball into their glove? Vision is often an overlooked part of the game because we take for granted that we can all see what’s happening on the field. But, what if you could improve your vision by even just a fraction? Would that not give you an advantage over your opponent?
So, for today’s task, I want you to try a simple visual training drill. For this drill you are going to be working on accommodation. Accommodation is the eye’s ability to change focus on an object as the distance of that object changes in relationship to the eye. In other words, accommodation is your eye’s ability to stay focused on the baseball as it moves closer to you. The quicker your eye can adjust and focus on the ball, the better you will be able to read rotation and speed of the baseball.
- Set up 3 or more baseballs in a line, with about 4-5 feet between each ball. The first ball should be about 4 feet from where you are positioned and right around eye height.
- Focus your eyes the first ball for 3-5 seconds.
- Transfer your focus to the second ball. Again, hold the focus for 3-5 seconds.
- Repeat with each of the following baseballs until you reach the far end of the line.
- Reverse the order by re-focusing on each ball as you get closer to the first ball in line.
- Rest your eyes for 30-60 seconds before repeating another set.
You can spend 5-10 minutes on this drill when you first start. As you become better at focusing on each ball you can shorten the duration you spend focusing on each ball. So, instead of focusing on an individual ball for 3-5 seconds, you would spend 1-2 seconds on each baseball. The goal would be to focus on the next ball as quickly as possible and then move to the next one. Also, as your eyes become better at focusing quickly, you can spend more time on the drill, but cap your total time to about 20 minutes. Make sure you are resting your eyes between sets. Visual training can cause strain on the eyes if you do not take adequate rest.
Once you become really good with baseballs, you can shrink the objects you are working with. Try ping pong balls, golf balls, marbles, or even beads on a string. Not only will your eyes’ ability to focus improve, but you’ll notice that your mental ability to focus will be getting better as well.