Talking About Visual Cues, Field of Vision, and Depth Perception During Baseball Practice
To start off, we’re going to talk about visual cues, depth perception, and field of vision.
It’s very important to talk about that area before you start talking about hitting mechanics because your players need to know what happens with their bodies’ strongest tool, first and foremost: the eyes.
Visual cues are used when we, as hitters, look at the pitcher; whatever his body does will help us to determine what’s going to happen physically in our swing. The physical movements of the pitcher are going to be cues for our body to start and continue through the whole motion of the swing.
The next thing we want to think about is our field of vision. When we’re talking a field of vision, we’re referring to exactly what a player can see when he or she looks out to the pitcher. As a hitter sets up in his batter’s stance and looks at the pitcher, that pitcher is in the hitter’s strongest area of his field of vision. The hitter can also see third base and first base in his peripheral vision. But the strongest area in a hitter’s field of vision is towards the middle of the infield, where the pitcher’s coming from.
As a hitter, it’s necessary to try to keep the ball in the strongest area of the field of vision. When we talk about the field of vision, we also have things develop in our depth perception (the eyes’ ability to decipher when a hitter wants to start his swing based on where the ball is).
Visual cues, depth perception, and field of vision are three very important things to keep in mind when discussing our visual system as a whole. As we go talk about all the steps and sequences of the swing, those three factors are going to be very important aspects of the whole swing.
Talking About Rhythm and Muscle Memory During Baseball Practice
When we’re talking about rhythm, keep in mind that rhythm must be created; it just doesn’t happen on its own. It’s as if you were to take a piece of music; a songwriter’s writing that piece of music, and some performer’s going out there to sing it. They have to rehearse it day in and day out to keep the rhythm correct. They can’t miss a beat or leave out a note.
When you’re talking about hitting, it’s the same thing. The hitter has to work on creating things in a sequence, one after the other, and letting it flow. That’s where you get your hitting rhythm.
Muscle memory’s the same sort of thing. If I want to produce muscle memory, I must have my visual system working in conjunction with the physical movements of my body. They need to go right in step with each other. When I being my visual system sequence, I look at the visual cues of the pitcher, which are then going to determine whether or not I have rhythm in my physical swing as well as if there’s sequence in my swing from start to finish.
When your players are striving to improve and become better hitters, they need to be practicing all of these things each and every day: focus on the visual cues, pay attention to the field of vision, and focus on their swinging rhythm. Each baseball practice, your players will be making adaptations to their swing and their rhythm with the goal of becoming better hitters. Some of those adaptations are right, and some of them are wrong. As the coach, it’s your job to keep an eye on these adaptations and see if they’re helping or hindering your player’s swing.
Taking some time to talk about these various subjects during baseball practice before jumping right into hitting drills is sure to give your players something to think about. Do you believe that your players will get a lot out of learning about visual cues, rhythm, muscle memory, and everything else we’ve covered today?