Improve Vision (Seeing the Ball) of the Beginning Hitter
The Beginning Hitting Series
Baseball and Fastpitch Softball
After selecting a good-fitting bat (click the link to choose a bat in five easy steps), improving the vision of the beginning hitter is a great first step.
The challenge of guiding the bat to meet the ball, feeling the contact, and the thrill of seeing how far the ball goes is what initially attracts young players to the game. Learning to see the ball all the way to contact is a natural starting point.
This blog post will detail 5 concepts, demonstrate 5 drills, and show 1 game to improve vision.
Click the link to view our video version of Improve Vision (Seeing the Ball) of the Beginning Hitter (please like our video and subscribe to our YouTube channel – thank you!).
Building Rome Series helps you get your beginning hitter, ages 5 to 9, off to a fun and productive start in the beginning hitter series.
Concept 1 to Improve Vision of the Beginning Hitter
Use the “See the Ball, Hit the Ball” Que
Coaches and parents should use the “see the ball, hit the ball” cue.
This simple mental approach to hitting is effective for all levels of competition.
Improve Vision Drill 1 – “Point at the Spot” Drill
An effective drill to teach the young hitter to watch the ball to contact is the Point at the Spot drill.
Have the youth hitter watch the ball to contact and then point at the spot on the bat where the contact occurred.
Concept 2 to Improve Vision of the Beginning Hitter
Young Hitters often Forget to Watch the Ball
Watching the ball is the first thing kids learn and the first thing they forget come game time. They want to look up early to see where the ball went.
Improve Vision Drill 2 – “No Look” Drill
Use a batting tee. After hitting the ball, the hitter keeps their head steady and eyes focused on the point of contact for a few seconds – no looking up!
This simple drill helps builds good hitting habits.
Concept 3 to Improve Vision of the Beginning Hitter
Head Should Turn
The coach or parent can easily tell if the young hitter is watching the ball. If they successfully watch the ball the last ten feet of flight, their head should turn as their eyes follow the ball to the bat.
Improve Vision Drill 3 – “Nose to Ball” Drill
Nose to the ball is meant to help the hitter visualize an imaginary line extending from the tip of the nose to the ball.
Place a few objects in the ball’s path, from the pitcher to the plate. Now ask the hitter to track the ball over each object.
This drill will help ensure there are no gaps in vision during ball flight. Even millisecond gaps act to speed up the ball.
Concept 4 to Improve Vision of the Beginning Hitter
Pick Up the Ball at Release
Most young hitters pick up the ball a little late in the flight. If the hitter picks up the ball just a few milliseconds after release, eyes must race ahead. Even little improvements with seeing the ball at release can make a big difference.
Improve Vision Drill 4 – “Hide the Ball Until Release” Drill
Utilizing overhand or underhand tosses and two ball colors, the coach hides the ball in the glove until release. The coach calls out the color just before release. The hitter will only swing if it is specified color.
The Hide, the Ball Until Release drill effectively creates habits for picking up the ball as early as possible. Then, to increase difficulty, get closer to the hitter.
Improve Vision Drill 5 – “Two Ball Soft Toss” Drill
Toss two balls of different colors at the same time. Before release, the tosser will announce what color to hit, and the hitter will try to hit only that color.
This is another great drill for focusing on release point to pick up the ball early.
Concept 5 to Improve Vision of the Beginning Hitter
One Step at a Time
Frustration can become an issue when any athlete strives to master too many techniques and skills at once. Get one step down, then work on the next.
For example, this article is solely dedicated to improving vision. We are not training stance, stride, rotation, or holding up on pitches out of the strike zone. These will be built soon in the Building Rome Series “roadmap” to success.
For any complex new activity, confidence is dramatically increased and improvement more rapid when a step-by-step training plan is followed.
Improve Vision Game 1 – “Square It Up” Game
Games and challenges are a great way to improve focus, monitor improvement, and increase the fun.
Here is a simple game to play with your beginning hitter. See how many line drives the hitter can get out of 25 soft tosses. Each time record the date and the successful squared-up hits.
At each practice, try to beat their last record. Be sure to celebrate each new achievement!
Building Rome Series Blog: The Beginning Hitting Series
Here are the 12 videos and articles contained in The Beginning Hitting Series:
Building Rome Series Books: Building the High-Level Swing Series
Click Building the High-Level Swing Series to learn more about our new two-book hitting series containing a detailed and comprehensive description of 100 hitting fundamentals and 140 step-by-step drills that efficiently construct the batting swing from the ground up.
In the Building Rome Series of books, the construction of skills are in functional order, providing a “roadmap” to becoming a great hitter.
All baseball and fastpitch softball players can “climb the Roman Coliseum steps” to become a powerful and productive hitter.
Enjoy the quest!