In order to be a great hitter, it is always important to focus on fundamentals. Regardless of age or skill level, a hitter must learn to keep their eyes on the ball.
The Hawk Eye drill can help in training a player’s eyes to follow the ball from the pitcher’s hand to the contact point where the ball meets the bat. It will serve to solidify the importance of keeping your eye on the ball at any level of play where pitchers are throwing various pitches.
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How It’s Done
Invite a number of players (who are not pitchers) out for pitching practice and have them bring their helmets. Tell them they will stand in as a live batter, so that they will be unaware of their task at hand.
After the pitchers are warmed up and throwing their pitches for accuracy and movement, have a hitter step into the batter’s box without a bat, BUT WITH HELMET ON. Her only responsibility is to watch the rotation of the ball from the pitcher’s hand to my glove.
The batter then has to tell me what the rotation of the ball was, what kind of pitch it was (based on the rotation) and if it was a ball or a strike. Each batter reads five pitches and then moves back into the line.
If you have multiple pitchers and catchers, more than one batter can practice ‘seeing’ the ball at the same time, but a coach should be watching each set of players both for safety reasons and to ensure that the hitter’s are calling the pitches correctly.
Through this drill, the player has strengthened their vision’s muscle memory. Reading these pitches will enable her to watch the flight of the pitch, concentrate on the ball and focus on the contact point. It can be a big help in developing the subconscious action of viewing and reacting to a quickly pitched ball.