This post is covering one of the most important yet underrated elements for hitting a baseball, and that is being able to use your vision effectively to pick up the pitcher’s release point whilst he is on the mound.
If you learn how to hit with open eyes and a closed mind, you will have a big advantage over your competition as we teach at HitLasers.com the eyes are the trigger for the swing.
As soon as you step into the box your should have a soft focus in the general area of the pitcher. During this time we coach our hitters to close their mind and open their eyes.
You need to shut down your mind and start to use your eyes to enable your subconscious mind to take over.
This is necessary in order to pick up the baseball because in real time the wind up happens very quickly, and the use of conscious thoughts makes it very difficult to pick up the baseball when it’s coming so fast out of the pitcher’s release point.
When you clear your mind it unlocks your subconscious, this enables you to gain “supervision” and to slow everything down helping you to pick up the baseball at the earliest possible moment.
Watching the pitcher in warm ups, you’ll get a read of the pitcher’s release point
The image provides and example of a standard right-handed pitcher who generally deliver the ball from around their shoulder. To help with release point recognition you can focus on a small window around his right shoulder.
As soon as you step in the box, as the pitcher begins his windup, that little window where you anticipate the ball being released from, is where we are going to shift from soft focus to hard focus.
If this pitcher delivered the ball straight over the top of his head, the window would shift a little higher above the right shoulder, to help compensate for this delivery type.
If he is a three-quarter drop down pitcher you would drop that window to between his shoulder and elbow, as the pitcher will drop his arm into a three-quarter motion.
If he was a submarine pitcher you would drop that window down even more, and shift our focus to about his waist or even below, depending on how low the pitcher releases the ball.
Of course if this was a left-handed pitcher then that window would shift to the left shoulder.
Focus on the little window, close you mind, unlock your subconscious and allow your eyes take over your swing
As the pitcher starts his wind-up, our soft focus will turn into hard focus
You don’t want to focus on watching the pitchers body movements, it is important to spot the ball as early as possible to help with your natural timing. When you’re locked in, focused on this small window, subconsciously you’ll know when to start your load.
When you’re in the zone your eyes will control your timing. The point at which your eyes pick up the ball, is when you’ll naturally start our load, instead of having to consciously think about it which is not good because it gets in the way of our subconscious, natural, reactive swing.
Even though you have a hard focus on the little window where you expect the ball to be released, you will naturally use your peripheral vision to keep track of the pitchers other body movements.
Once again, this all happens on a subconscious level, you aren’t consciously thinking “this guy is about to pick his leg up” or “he is about to release the ball from his glove”, because we know any conscious thoughts are getting in the way of unlocking our natural reactive swing.
The point at which you start your load will vary from pitcher to pitcher
In general as the pitcher is about to release the ball from his glove is a good time to trigger your load.
If the pitcher is fast to the plate or has good velocity on his fastball, you may want to start your load earlier.
The best spot to decide when you’re going to begin your load is in the on-deck circle, here you can watch the pitcher and anticipate the spot he wants to get his load going.
You don’t want to be thinking too much about your load as you step into the batter’s box because, once again; conscious thoughts get in the way of your natural and reactive subconscious swing.
A great way to prepare your timing is to practice in the on-deck circle. For those that aren’t sure about the mechanics for load and timing, this can be achieved with a slight in turn of the front knee to generate to prepare you core for a powerful swing.
When you step into the batter’s box, the only thing you should be thinking about is confidence and a 100% focus on picking the ball up.
Depending on how good the pitcher is at the art of deception, (some pitchers are good at never showing the baseball until they actually release the ball from their hand) they may show the baseball when releasing from the glove and behind the body.
When you’re really in the zone your vision and subconscious mind can spot the pitcher’s grip on the ball, getting a sneak preview of the pitch type.
The following image is one of the most important frames of our vision sequence, the time we get a full look at the baseball.
This is what you’ve been waiting for the whole time, this is why you’ve worked so hard to focus on the little window where you expected the pitcher’s release point to be. This is pretty close to where the pitcher is about to release the baseball from his hand.
Of course this will happen in a split second, but as you slow everything down using your eyes you’re able to get a really good look at the ball.
The earlier you see the baseball, the more chance you have of being successful
As the ball is released from the pitcher’s hand your hard focus shifts to super focus, unlocked from your subconscious mind.
This can only be achieved on the subconscious level, similar to a car accident where everything happens so fast yet people report everything happens in slow motion.
Seeing the baseball out of the pitcher’s hand will help to track the ball as it goes down the hitting funnel and give you the best opportunity to read and react to the ball.
It is the same with hitting, if you unlock your subconscious it enables you to release your super focus and you’re able to see things that you wouldn’t pick up if you had too many thoughts clouding your mind.
This is vital to hitting, this is why we tell people to close their mind and open their eyes, to get to this point and use that super focus to lock in on the baseball.
This gives the hitter the best chance of success.
That completes the release point sequence, just remember to unlock your subconscious you need to close your mind, open your eyes, make sure you focus on that small window where we anticipate the ball is going to be released from, and understand the window will vary from pitcher to pitcher, and also remember how the eyes will initiate the load.