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Seeing the Ball

Jul 14, 2018
281
43
Towards the end of the spring season, DD started saying that she wasn't seeing the ball. She does wear corrective lenses, and has routine eye exams, so I don't think it's anything physical.

She has a very good contact rate, most of her strikeouts are on called third strikes. I'm hoping that what is happening is this: as the velocity of the pitching she sees increases, she is grappling with having less time to read and react. So while she says that she isn't seeing the ball, the fact that she rarely swings and misses leads me to believe that she's just used to having a moment to recognize the incoming pitch and think about it, whereas now her body is just taking over.

Way back in 10U, we used to practice with the dual-colored balls. Calling out the color that the bat made contact with was very effective in getting her to watch the ball hit the bat. I'm wondering if it's time to dig those out again. Anyone have any drills that might reinforce the fact that she is seeing the ball, but probably just not long enough to ponder its flight path?
 
Mar 28, 2014
277
43
Towards the end of the spring season, DD started saying that she wasn't seeing the ball. She does wear corrective lenses, and has routine eye exams, so I don't think it's anything physical.

She has a very good contact rate, most of her strikeouts are on called third strikes. I'm hoping that what is happening is this: as the velocity of the pitching she sees increases, she is grappling with having less time to read and react. So while she says that she isn't seeing the ball, the fact that she rarely swings and misses leads me to believe that she's just used to having a moment to recognize the incoming pitch and think about it, whereas now her body is just taking over.

Way back in 10U, we used to practice with the dual-colored balls. Calling out the color that the bat made contact with was very effective in getting her to watch the ball hit the bat. I'm wondering if it's time to dig those out again. Anyone have any drills that might reinforce the fact that she is seeing the ball, but probably just not long enough to ponder its flight path?
As the pitches get faster, it becomes physically impossible for the human eye to actually see the ball hit the bat. It's moving too fast. They are able to hit the ball by the brain estimating where it will be when their bat enters the path of the ball. This is made possible by repetitions. So the answer is reps, reps, reps with faster pitching.

 
Aug 1, 2019
24
13
From the article texasheat posted: ...Mickey Mantle, another celebrated hitter once said, “I never really could explain it. I just saw the ball as big as a grapefruit.”...

And here our kids are essentially hitting a grapefruit, just not as mushy.
 

pattar

Clueless..
Jun 8, 2016
3,576
113
From the article texasheat posted: ...Mickey Mantle, another celebrated hitter once said, “I never really could explain it. I just saw the ball as big as a grapefruit.”...

And here our kids are essentially hitting a grapefruit, just not as mushy.
Mickey was great and seemed like a good guy, but how much of that is explained by the fact that he was probably hungover most of the time... ;)
 
Aug 1, 2019
24
13
Mickey was great and seemed like a good guy, but how much of that is explained by the fact that he was probably hungover most of the time... ;)
I suppose a baseball would look the size of a grapefruit it you're seeing two of them. :)
 
Aug 1, 2019
24
13
Back to the OP, I came across this video and had my 15 y.o. son start doing this. It made a tremendous difference in his ability to make contact, make more solid contact, and his strikeout rate dropped.
It also explains why batters take so much time in between pitches in MLB.
 
Apr 2, 2015
313
28
southeast
we used to practice with the dual-colored balls. Calling out the color that the bat made contact with was very effective in getting her to watch the ball hit the bat. I'm wondering if it's time to dig those out again. Anyone have any drills that might reinforce the fact that she is seeing the ball, but probably just not long enough to ponder its flight path?
I used to waste lots of time and energy doing things like this. Little foam balls, plastic golf balls, eye exams, all that.

Two things help:
1. see lots of pitches - machines cranked a few mph faster that they would normally see. Just a few, not 10-20. Also as many curveballs as you can.
2. make sure they are timing their stride properly. They must leave when the ball is at 12 oclock for older, or when it leaves the hand for younger and slower ages. Make sure they begin their stride ON EVERY PITCH, before they know if it's a strike or not.
 
May 12, 2016
1,979
63
I used to waste lots of time and energy doing things like this. Little foam balls, plastic golf balls, eye exams, all that.

Two things help:
1. see lots of pitches - machines cranked a few mph faster that they would normally see. Just a few, not 10-20. Also as many curveballs as you can.
2. make sure they are timing their stride properly. They must leave when the ball is at 12 oclock for older, or when it leaves the hand for younger and slower ages. Make sure they begin their stride ON EVERY PITCH, before they know if it's a strike or not.
I absolutely agree with this.. it's amazing how much good timing with proper sequence can make a pitch appear much slower.
 

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