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Coach Andy's Hitting E-zine, #45 - Eye Training
November 14, 2007

I haven't talked much about eye training

I've spent most of my time on my website and in this newsletter talking to you about hitting mechanics, how to do practice and drill regimens, watch the best hitters hit, but little if none about eye training or vision training.

I received a great question from a young reader "How do I fallow [sic] the ball better?"

For all the talk about a picture perfect swing, this is right on about how to hit better. You can't hit what you can't see clearly. Following the ball is very important.

So I'm going to give some tips on how this can be done better, tell you a couple of products that should help, and what some of the best hitters I know of say to themselves as they get in the box (as it relates to this topic of eye training or vision).

Have your eyes and head track the ball

In answer to our question of how to follow the ball, let's take it from the place where we can get our information the quickest - the pitcher's hand. Actually it would be better to get it from the place where the pitcher will release the ball. Nothing happens without the pitcher releasing the ball, so place the focus of your eyes on the spot where the ball will come out. That will get you the information as quickly as possible.

Next I use a little phrase or gimmick to help me remember to watch the ball all the way from the release point to the contact area. I call it "Ikey-Mikey". These are the names of the two imaginary characters I place on my two shoulders, Ikey on the front or lead shoulder and Mikey on the rear shoulder. If I go into my "Jump in the box" stance and look to the release point your chin should be on Ikey. Then if you track the ball and swing at the pitch your shoulders will turn but your head will remain still looking at the contact area, which means your chin will end up on Mikey.

Pretty Cool!

New Training Glasses Help Hit Better

I just found a new hitting toy (as I like to call them) that is a set of glasses developed by an Optometrist who worked with the Chicago Cubs that forces you to watch only the ball and you can't see the ball any other way than the right way as it blocks almost all of your peripheral vision in seeing the ball. It even has eye training on the enclosed DVD by Todd Helton, who's not such a bad hitter himself (.331 lifetime, 2nd among active players behind only Ichiro).

Please take a look at the write up I did on it.

Use small whiffles and a stick to train your eyes

I'm sure a lot of you know the benefit of hitting smaller balls in practice to train your eyes for when you hit the bigger ball you use in games.

The golfers use golf ball size whiffles to train with, but we can buy them and use them to hit. Then to make it even tougher we can get a broom handle (trimmed to bat size) or a whiffle ball bat or some of the commercially available smaller bats like the Swiftstick, Thunderstick, Grobat, et al.

If you want my recommendation as to the right combination to train with try this pitching machine that pitches golfball whiffles at speeds that represent your game speed from the kid's leagues all the way up to high school/college levels. This is what I recommend in training with whiffles

Or you can use whiffles in Joe Mauer's Quickwing I told you about last month.

See It - Hit It

I've had the good fortune of talking with the #4 batter on the Olympic team and when I asked her what she thinks about when she goes up to the plate, she stated simply "See the ball - Hit the ball".

A video I watched on Ken Griffey, Jr. showed him talking about hitting and he stated roughly the same thing, "See it, Hit it".

I think that when you get to their levels that can be all you think about, because obviously they have great mechanics. Many of us are still working to perfect our mechanics, so it may not be that easy, but using these eye training techniques we've talked about will bring you closer to the goal of being a better hitter.

Followup to the Upcoming Secret News

I'm excited about the invention I'm privileged to have helped inspire. It cleared the patent search and is now in the patent application phase, so it should be a few months away before I can release it to the public, but it is definitely on its way, just not in time for Christmas.

I've probably told you too much already. You'll just have to wait until you see the special newsletter announcing its arrival!

If any of you would like to be a part of the manufacturing or distribution arm of this product, I do have non-disclosure agreements ready to work with serious agents. E-mail or call.

Again, remind your friends, fellow coaches, and teammates to sign up to be on this list at my website to stay up on this and all other hitting news.

Again, if you have any questions or comments you can write to me via e-mail.

To see other hitting tips in past newsletters, go to the past issues of my hitting newsletter page.

Welcome to you who are new to my hitting e-zine.

Thanks for reading and talk to you next time.

Coach Andy

6801 Dove St. Ventura, CA 93003


Coach Andy Collins has been helping players achieve their goals in softball and baseball for over 30 years. He's an advisor to national teams and can help you be a better hitter. He offers free information on his website and through free e-mail hitting lessons and has just introduced a new hitting video discussing and demonstrating how to hit great with either the rotational or linear hitting methods.

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