So last night I tossed and turned in a futile attempt to goto sleep. I never struggle with sleep, but last night was crazy and here is what caused it! I did something I never do and that is creep around on the internet and look at what other people are doing in the Sports Vision World. Let me tell you that I was very disgusted. I couldn't believe what I saw and further more I couldn't believe that intelligent people are falling for the hustle of some of these so-called vision training experts. I talked myself out of writing this blog/exhortation because I was taught not to write from an emotional state, but I had to do this today. I just could not let it go. People who know me, know that when no one else was talking about vision and hitting, I was. That was almost 15 years ago, so I consider myself to be somewhat knowledgeable. Let's just say that what Complete Game is doing in Sports Vision is like Apple and this other stuff is like Blackberry. I am not sure why BB still makes phones. In fact, I had hoped the rest of the sports world would have perhaps progressed a little more than they have. Maybe I missed something or perhaps there's more out there somewhere and I missed it.
All of the students, teams, and colleges that I consult -you guys all know that I never hold back or hide anything. And for alot of you, I haven't even charged you what this is worth. For me, it isn't always about money. And trust me, if it was about money, then I would just go and start a travel team and charge 6K and call it a year. However, my bathroom mirror won't let me do that. I am going to summarize True Vison for HItting without going into anything from before the year 2000. Trust me, I don' need to.
First of all, Vision in Sports Performance can fall into a 4-part mental process. That's right I said MENTAL I know the eyes are muscles and some people want to do eye exercises to make them stronger. Good luck with that. Sounds familiar -people are also over-training teams and then playing a 50-plus game season tired and hurt. But the 4-part process is actually mental, not as physical as we would like to believe. We have destroyed so many hitters by making it all about the physical and ignored the mental plane -let's not do the same thing with vision.
Part 1 - Capture
The capture process is based on recognition. Without going into every dynamic of recognition (which would be impossible), let's just agree on this, "The more we see something, the easier it is to recognize it." Do I need strong eye muscles for that? Should I put my eyes through a freakin' workout in order to have better recognition? No. I need to simply create files and store those files in my short or long term memory, which brings me to phase 2.
Part 2 - Memorize/File
Memorizing pitches (and how they move) and storing them as files is based on focus and understanding the difference between the "image" and the "object". The object is reality and the image is my perception of reality. That is why hitters will swing at pitches in the dirt and then say it wasn't low (and to them, it wasn't low). The whole ballpark saw a better version of the "object" and the hitter saw an "image." You see, this is what happens when you have eye doctors talking about hitting when they got cut from Little League. You get confusion. So your better hitters are always gonna come from the parts of the country where they can play more baseball and softball and see more pitches so they can create-record-store more files. Not do eye exercises. (I am laughing so hard right now and people are looking at me. Lol.) We don't go study math to get better at English.
Part 3 - Recall
Recollection is key. Because now that we have created all these memories, we now have to bring them back or at least cross-reference what we are seeing in the present atbat with what we have already experienced in past atbats. So I can lay off a rise-ball because I have seen thousands of them since I was 14. B-level travel players probably won't be very good at laying off that pitch. They don't have enough files stored and haven't seen enough good rise balls. This is why Michael Jordan couldn't hit, but I'll bet you he could ace all those frivolous vision drill-exercises, and video-games.
Part 4 - Interpret
Interpreting is about about combining or putting the first 3 parts together. We need to develop those three either together or independently with hitting drills.
By taking the bat and the ball out of the "vision" training process, recognition/response is not happening as fast and efficient as it needs to for whatever level you are hitting at. Your athletes are getting good at seeing numbers on tennis balls and there are no numbers on a baseball or a softball (hence, no recognition). And besides, at the highest levels of play, a hitter cannot stare at the ball -he needs to see part of the ball (and part of where its going) in order to be on-time. So I hope you are not teaching hitters to watch the ball throughout its entire flight. Looking for numbers will cause bad tracking habits and actually speed up the pitch.
Secondly, the batter's box is not a tv screen so the computers and video-games don't enhance recognition either. Hitters need to create files. Files and more files and then store them. Only then can recognition really and truly happen. Just because you went out and got a Major Leauguer who was already (great and) bound for the Hall of Fame to buy into your system doesn't prove the effectiveness of training. Basically, you're guessing, especially if you cannot prove (with objective data) that your "vision" training methods have gotten teams better. HOAX. Check out www.optogaze.com to learn more about how we are currently determining the effectiveness of our vision training with objective data. In other words, are the methods I am currently employing actually contributing to the improvement of my player's performance? If so, to what extent? Or is something else causing them to get better or worse. How do you know? Stats? Are you guessing? I'm not guessing, are you?
You haven't even determined which of the 4 parameters above (and by the way, there are like 72 different parameters I have found, but I am trying to keep it in the year 2000) are the cause of the problem, but you show up to a team's workout and put everybody through the same exact gimmicks. Tell me how the number eight batter has the same visual acuity of the 2, 3, and 4 batter? Better yet, tell me how the starting center-fielder has the same dynamic visual acuity as the benchwarmers? Did you even ask them who is who? Lol. Natural Vision Improvement would have to be based in re-shaping the anatomy of the eye since that is where focus errors have their root. Do eye exercises change the shape/elasticity of the eye or reverse the aging process? Well that's the only (scientifically proven) way you are going to "improve vision." If your hitters aren't throwing their glasses and contact lenses in the garbage after doing all these eye workouts, then ...
What we need to be doing in Sports Vision Training is improving how hitters recognize various pitches, goalies anticipate kicks, basketball players feel rim distance, et cetera. It has to be sport specific. It has to be task-specific. Epsecially in baseball and softball.
I can't even believe it has come to this. I call it stealing people's money. Ridiculous. I am certain I will sleep better tonight -the sad thing is, the vision experts will too.
Complete Game LLC
p.s. Basically, what I just did was put everybody on full blast. There are too many people running around claiming to be coaches and trainers because they took a class and got a certification. Joke! It is time to expose all of the lies and bring some truth to the issues concerning proper player development. I promise you I will call you out. I am not running for President so I don't need you to agree with the Truth. Imagine if the sports world had a super hero.
I welcome all comments from people who are using their real names and email addresses. If you can't man up, then shut up.