David’s Baseball Lesson # 2:
See the Ball! Do You Really Know What That Means?
I am hoping that you have read the 1st Lesson that I sent to you a week ago. If not, please take the time now. It important because it sets up the philosophy behind all your baseball play.
In this lesson you will learn some things about seeing the ball that I will bet you have not heard before.
As you already know, seeing the ball is important. But, do you know how important? Do you know that seeing the ball the way I believe it should be seen just may make the difference in whether you bat 200 or 400.
This is just one of a number of concepts and techniques that will really help you when you play. Get them all now here.
In the next Lesson, I will show you a greatly undervalued but also powerful technique. This will come in 7 days so, in the meantime, you can practice this lesson.
See the Ball! Do You Really Know What That Means?
If you were to ask me to pick the single most important thing to do when batting, I would say that you need to focus on seeing the ball. And you need to really, really see the ball properly. Unfortunately, most people don’t see the ball the way it needs to be seen, even after being shown how to do it and told how important it is.
“See the ball.” “Watch the ball.” “Look at the ball.” Yes, I know you have heard this so many times. But do you really consciously see the ball all the way to your bat? It is not as easy as it sounds. And as you get into really seeing the ball, it becomes easy to think that you are seeing the ball well when you really aren’t.
When I talk about how important it is to really see the ball clearly, some players will try so hard to focus on the ball that they tense up too much. Remember that you don’t need to try hard when you are reading, and likewise if you were to look up from this book and look around the room you don’t need to try hard to see things. The same principle applies to seeing the ball when batting. Don’t try, just see. What may be hard is to keep your focus on the ball for all the pitches, and this, like any other skill, needs practice.
How do you know if you are seeing the ball well? This requires awareness. Are you able to answer these questions with absolute certainty?
- Am I really consciously seeing the ball all the way from the pitcher’s hand?
- If someone were to ask, could I tell them whether the ball was spinning fast, slow, or medium as it was coming to me?
- Have I ever seen a ball that has no spin or very very slow spin? Those balls should stick out like a sore thumb because they are so different from the rest.
- Am I able to see the ball spinning all the way to the blur of my bat when it makes contact with the ball?
- Do I keep my head down for a short period of time at the contact point?
You need to be able to answer these questions beyond a shadow of a doubt. If you find yourself saying “I think” the ball was spinning slowly, then you didn’t see it. If you really saw it you would say without a doubt, “Yes, I saw that one.”
If I was working with you on your batting for the first time, I usually start off by having you see the ball. I explain completely that I don’t want you to think about swinging the bat or to think about hitting the ball or even your technique and instead I want you to just focus on seeing the ball all the way to your bat as you swing at the ball.
After working with you for a few minutes, I then ask you if you saw the ball very well. You will probably say that you did, and many times you will say that you saw the ball better than you ever had in the past. You saw the ball better because you were not thinking about swinging the bat or hitting the ball, yet, most likely, you would actually hit the ball most of the time.
Did you pick up on the phrase “to the blur of the bat”? Do you know what this means? If you answered yes and have seen the ball spinning to the blur of the bat, and are able to do it most of the time, then you are already ahead of the game.
If you don‟t know what this means, then you have never seen the ball the way I know it needs to be seen in order to make contact more often. Here is what it means. If you focus at the point where you would normally hit the ball and then swing the bat, you will see a blur as the bat goes through that spot. When you are actually hitting the ball, if you see the ball all the way to your bat, you will see the blur of the bat as it goes by. This is really hard to do, but it is a really, really important skill to develop.
The other little issue when seeing the ball to your bat is to be able to keep your focus on the contact point for a short period of time. You don’t need to look up to see where your ball is going so soon after you hit. This concept of keeping your focus at the contact point will, among other things, help you see the ball to the blur of your bat. Even though I called this a little issue, this may be one of the most powerful concepts to making proper contact with the ball.
Seeing the ball the way it really needs to be seen may be a challenge for you. It may take some time to get good at it, but when you really know you are seeing the ball, you will absolutely see a difference in your batting. You will also begin to experience what it means to get your conscious mind out of the way and let your other than conscious mind direct your body.
Here are some games you can play that will help you to focus on the ball.
Play the throw-hit game. Every time the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand, say out loud or to yourself “throw.” Every time the ball hits your bat, say out loud or to yourself “hit.” Check to see if you are saying “hit” with a relaxed voice or a tense one. And check to make sure that you are saying these words exactly when it is happening and not before or after. If you are playing this game with a very fast pitcher, then you may want to just say “hit” as there won’t be time to say the “throw.” Or, you could just say “swing.” It doesn’t matter what you say, this little game is to get your conscious mind out of the way as you hit.
Another game to play is to say, out loud or to yourself, what direction the ball is spinning. When you swing at the ball, say what direction it is spinning as it is coming towards you. If you are having difficulties with this, then don’t swing at the ball at all. Just see the ball as it is coming towards you. Once you have experienced seeing the ball, then do it while you swing at the ball.
Here is one more game to play. Watch the trajectory of the ball as it comes to you. Ask yourself whether the ball dropped to the right, left or straight down.
As you begin to let go and just see the ball the way I describe above, you will see amazing things begin to happen. If nothing much happens, I suggest contacting me so we can figure out where the problem is.
The final thing to understand about seeing the ball is that even though it is your conscious mind that is seeing the ball, you want to have your other than conscious mind make it happen. This means that, for example, when you read these words, you are not trying hard to read, you just do it. Do the same for seeing the ball. Just see it.
Now go see how well you see the ball and see the difference on how you hit.