Baseball is a visually demanding is a very visually demanding sport. It has been said, "hitting a baseball is the hardest skill to pull off in sports." Regardless of the position played, baseball players need to react quickly and efficiently, which can be anything from pitches or batting balls as they come in at-bat - that means vision skills will always play a big role! The question then becomes: "How do you improve your eyes' ability?" With regular vision training in the off-season, those little improvements increase over time to ensure the best performance on the field.
Sports Vision Training enhances and improves visual skills essential for prediction, anticipation, and reaction. One tool that can be used for vision training is FITLIGHT®. FITLIGHT® is a LED-based reaction training system used for vision training exercises, designed to improve an athlete's visual processing speed, visual-motor coordination, reaction time, and many other visual skills. This reaction training tool is especially beneficial for baseball players because it helps athletes learn to react quickly and efficiently to incoming stimuli. There are many ways that FITLIGHT® can be integrated and utilized for vision training. Let's see how!
A critical skill for baseball players is eye-tracking and focusing flexibility, which is the ability to keep both eyes working in unison as they track rapidly moving objects. Improving the ability to "keep your eye on the ball" is essential - your eyes are what lead your body and can lead your hands out of position. A simple eye-tracking drill can be done using FITLIGHT®, where the user does not deactivate the lights but quickly scans them as they illuminate in a random pattern.
The use of the eyes to drive muscles toward a task, such as eating or combing our hair, is known as eye-hand coordination. To move our hands, the visual system organizes input and delivers signals to muscles. Hitting the ball requires the precise coordination of visual and motor skills. In this exercise, using FITLIGHTS® as targets, as shown in this task, is a simple yet effective way to train eye-hand coordination.
Athletes who anticipate accurately can gain a significant competitive advantage over their opponents. Scenarios that provide a stimulus relevant to the sporting environment may help athletes develop better anticipation skills (source: nsca.com). A batter needs to be able to read and respond accurately to the pitch coming his way to ensure the optimal connection to the ball. In this video, you can see the athlete anticipating a specific pitch and only taking a swing when the FITLIGHT® positioned on the pole directly in front of him is a full green FITLIGHT®; he then takes a swing over the matching FITLIGHT® on the cone. Here the FITLIGHTS® are emulating different pitches he may be receiving, so he has to be quick when the right pitch comes his way.
"Once the hitter decides, it's a race against the waning milliseconds to make contact. The quickest swings in baseball happen in anywhere from 100-150 milliseconds, leaving almost zero margin for error." (Source: Seattle Times, 2017)
Peripheral awareness is the ability to see objects and moving targets that are not in your central line of vision. This is an essential skill for athletes as they need to be aware of the environment around them. Included in our App is the Peripheral Drill. You can progress the drill in several ways by changing the position of the lights, adding more lights or changing the timing to make the exercise more challenging.
Become an effective Vision Trainer
These are just a few examples of how FITLIGHT® can be used for vision training in baseball, there are so many creative ways to integrate the lights into training. Adding additional stimuli, such as throwing a ball while deactivating lights, helps baseball players learn to process information more quickly. Some of the mostThe exercises force them to pay attention to multiple moving objects simultaneously. This training can improve cognitive function and reaction time in athletes. One of the system's benefits is that the training can be customized for each athlete. The lights can be set up in different patterns, and the timing can be adjusted to fit the needs of each player.
Vision training can be done through drills that require focus on visual cues; FITLIGHT® offers a fun and effective way to train your athletes' vision and improve their cognitive function. Our Neurocognitive Performance Course discusses vision and how to train vision using the FITLIGHT® effectively. Find out more about our online education program here and how to become an effective sports vision trainer. Enroll today!