Baseball Eye Exercises
Whether you are batting or playing defense, you need good vision. You have to clearly see baseballs moving toward you at high speeds to hit or catch them. To make these tasks even more difficult, the ball might bounce, curve, drop or rise while in flight. Sports vision professionals recommend exercises that can help improve your vision for baseball and consequently improve your game.
Sports vision consultants Thomas Wilson and Jeff Falkel recommend ball batting to improve hand-eye coordination. You need a bat divided into several numbered sections and a ball attached to a string to perform the exercise. Hold the bat horizontally with your hands at the ends. Have a partner dangle the ball about 3 feet in front of your chest and call out one of the numbers on the bat. Continually tap the ball with that section of the bat until your partner calls out a different number.
Colored Dot Drill
The colored dot drill teaches you to track the baseball as it moves toward you. Draw colored dots, about the size of a quarter, on several baseballs, each with a different color. Have a partner randomly select from the baseballs and throw them to you. Try to yell out the color of the dot before catching the ball. It is also helpful to perform this drill as a batter, determining the color of the dot as the ball travels from the pitcher to the catcher.
Eye Speed Concentration Drill
The eye speed concentration drill requires visual concentration to improve your ability to focus on the baseball, notes optometrist Bill Harrison. Create a board numbered from 1 to 50, but out of order. Stand within an arm’s length of the board and have a partner call out one of the numbers. Find the number as quickly as possible and touch it with a finger. Have your partner use a stopwatch to time how long this takes.
Near-Far Eye Jumps
Near-far eye jumps help you alternately focus on objects different distances from your eyes. In baseball, this skill helps you focus on the ball as it moves from far away to close to your eyes. Have one partner hold a baseball 4 inches in front of your eyes and another partner hold a ball between 2 and 10 feet away at eye level. Focus on the ball closest to you first, then shift your eyes to the ball farther away and refocus on it. Continue moving your eyes back and forth for 30 to 40 repetitions.
- Sports Vision Training for Better Performance; Thomas A. Wilson and Jeff Falkel
- USA Today: Optometrist Helps Hitters Keep Eye on Ball
Matthew Schirm has worked in the sports-performance field since 1998. He has professional experience as a college baseball coach and weight-training instructor. He earned a Master of Science in human movement from A.T. Still University in 2009.