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  • Hitting Vision

    I was talking to a HS baseball coach yesterday and the topic of the slider came up along with a discussion about the St. Louis Cardinals and their strikeout rate against sliders in the dirt. His comment was that the hitter has to focus on the spin and seeing the dots on the slider and they can hit it or let it go. My comment back was that if they are focused on seeing those dots, they are already out. As a baseball coach, and when we were playing teams that had pitchers who had good or outstanding sliders, I threw a lot of them in BP. We did talk about seeing the dots. However, that wasn't a "focus on the ball and the dot" approach. Before I discuss this more, I want your take on what I have presented.
    Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

    I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Cannonball View Post
    . My comment back was that if they are focused on seeing those dots, they are already out. .
    Two issues here:
    First, how many hitters can see the "dot" on breaking balls? For example, Musial and Gwynn could not.

    Second, if they can see it, should they be looking for it? Cannonball says they should not, and I agree 100%.
    _____________
    Musial and Gwynn couldn't see the "dot":

    Sporting News: Tell us what you saw when the pitcher let go of the ball.

    Musial: I couldn't see the spin, if that's what you're asking. A lot of guys said they could, but the ball comes up there so fast, I couldn't see the spin. Could you?

    Gwynn: Nope.

    SN: Wade Boggs, among others, said he could see a dot, a red dot, and that's how he knew a curveball was coming. Did you ever see that?

    Musial: No.

    Gwynn: Me neither

    http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/stor...and-tony-gwynn
    _____________
    More from Musial:
    “I’m always set for a fastball,” Musial told The Saturday Evening Post in 1958 when he got his 3,000th career hit. “When I’m concentrating up there, I know that pitcher’s best fastball. When he lets the ball go, if that ball jumps out in front of me there about 30, 40 feet, I know it’s got to be a fastball. If he lets that ball go and it doesn’t come up that quick, then it’s going to be a change or a curve. I never watch the spin of the ball. I watch the ball in its entirety, and what it’s doing, and how fast it’s reacting to me. And then I try to adjust from there.”




    Last edited by skipper5; 11-02-2019, 09:12 AM.
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    • #3
      I think some can see it, but it is more peripheral. Instead of focusing on ‘tells’ good hitters just react to them naturally. Still, I don’t think it hurts to tell people about them, especially if a certain pitcher has one in their delivery. In the end, I think good hitters just are able to pick things up earlier than others. One of the best hitters I know also has some of the quickest reflexes in other things.

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      • #4
        In my experience, in a day game against a pitcher throwing fb low 80's (slider in 70's) or so then a dot or like a nickel sized circle can be seen once in a while. I don't know that it matters that the dot can be seen on occasion.
        Major Figure

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        • #5
          To add to what I have already presented, while I don't think that a hitter can stare at a ball and see the dots and then react, I do think hitters can prepare for the slider. I don't believe in just giving up. I started by having hitters go stand in a "box" as my pitchers threw their bullpens. In doing so, they can get a sense of what a slider looks like from that perspective. Next, knowing the pattern a school coach likes to call will help. Having hitters know these counts and look for pitches low and away knowing that if it is a slider, it most likely be out of the zone is a thing that we practiced.

          This brings up another topic. How do you teach discipline at the plate? For me, I had hitters come to the rolling cage on the field for BP in groups of 3. We had 3 stations set up there so no one was standing around. In attempting to teach discipline, one strategy I used was to rotate a hitter out of the cage if they swung at a pitch out of the zone. Naturally, that was after a few swings and never right away. A traditional BP round would include some type of location hitting, speciality pitch hitting and then "at bats."
          Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

          I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

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          • #6
            Cannonball-
            If I recall correctly, your HS practices were 3-4 hours long, which allowed plenty of time for the type of specialized hitting practice that you describe.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by omg View Post
              ....a dot or like a nickel sized circle can be seen once in a while. I don't know that it matters that the dot can be seen on occasion.
              I don't know about the pro or college level.

              But in my opinion, at the HS level, any discussion of the "dot" on the slider is nonsense that players should block out of their minds.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
                .....discussion of the "dot" on the slider is nonsense that players should block out of their minds.
                The ability to block out nonsense is a high level skill, about as difficult as hitting a slider, probably harder. When kids go to a "guru" they come back with stuff which they think is elite, like the dot or some clever one footed, one handed holding the bat upside down drill or technology: video, sensors, data..., and they think, in the enormous amount of dead time that baseball provides, that they are on to something. They've been given an edge, that is, until they actually have to prove it.
                Last edited by omg; 11-04-2019, 11:29 AM.
                Major Figure

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cannonball View Post
                  This brings up another topic. How do you teach discipline at the plate?
                  Not sure although I can say that we all probably throw way too many strikes in practice.

                  Really, if I had to say, I generally would not focus on discipline. I'd rather kids be like Altuve, who we just saw swing and miss quite a few times by a yard on breakers that bounced and were a foot outside.

                  Major Figure

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by omg View Post


                    Really, if I had to say, I generally would not focus on discipline. I'd rather kids be like Altuve
                    Me too.

                    Generally, from what I've seen, HS batters' main selectivity issue is that they're too selective. Especially with regard to the outer third of the zone (from top to bottom). The majority of HS pitchers try to live there.

                    Pitchers resist going inside. You can make a rational case for that.
                    Batters resist going outside. Not rational.
                    But if HS batters nationwide magically and suddenly started offering outside, the games would be too long.
                    Last edited by skipper5; 11-04-2019, 10:58 AM.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by skipper5 View Post

                      Generally, from what I've seen, HS batters' main selectivity issue is that they're too selective.
                      Right, generally. I haven't narrowed the inside/outside part of that as you have. But it sounds accurate. I have irreversible doubt that pitchers (generally) can throw the ball where they want to.

                      I also want to add and remind that any aspect of baseball of which I am critical of how others do things- I have probably done those things myself.

                      Major Figure

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by omg View Post
                        I have irreversible doubt that pitchers (generally) can throw the ball where they want to.
                        I wasn't talking about hitting spots.

                        Nor will I claim that the majority of HS pitchers live in the outer third (much larger than a spot).

                        I do believe that the majority "try to live there."


















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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by skipper5 View Post

                          I wasn't talking about hitting spots.

                          Nor will I claim that the majority of HS pitchers live in the outer third (much larger than a spot).

                          I do believe that the majority "try to live there."
                          Yes, we eerily think alike.

                          Just to let the thousands (millions?) know who are reading this: there is zero chance that despite the deep bond developed between us that I will ever come and visit skip in the flesh. There is no chance that we will embrace in an awkward moment, gleefully exclaim "it's so good to finally meet you", and share tales. It's not happening.

                          Major Figure

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                          • #14
                            I asked vision expert (has created a vision training software and worked with pro guys) peter fadde on Twitter and he replied with this:

                            https://twitter.com/dominikkeul/stat...422516736?s=19

                            Basically he says some hitters see cues like the hump up, skinny wrist or the dot but he thinks it is mostly a subconscious thing that has to be learned with reps.

                            I have used the uhit app last winter while I was in hospital and got moderately better over time doing it but there were limits and I got nowhere near the top of the leaderboards of that app.
                            I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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                            • #15
                              That's a nice little exchange and I think all true. Typically, a player gets better at hitting good pitching by being in a league where all of the pitchers are good, like the pros, college, and big time high school leagues. A hitter will take their "lumps", some will "learn" faster than others but this is the way it's always been done. Takes a lot of time and even if a player is lucky enough to get in a league like this they can't stink the place up too much or else they will have to hit the road.

                              The issue for mere mortals is how in practices and training can hitters get better at seeing good pitching. It can be done but, I'll just flat out say it, it requires the proper use of machines. Pitching machines aren't the only way but they exemplify what's involved- seeing a challenging pitch from 60 ft. and, preferably, one which induces a little fear.
                              Major Figure

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