In softball, vision refers to more than just eye sight. Vision involves the ability to accurately perceive factors such as motion, location, and rotation on the field or at the plate. Even players who have perfect 20/20 eye sight can improve their softball vision by using these exercises as part of their softball practice drills.
Softball and Vision
Softball players rely on accurate vision for every aspect of the game. Athletes are constantly making decisions, and their vision will affect their ability to succeed on the field. Consider the role good vision has on the following choices:
When batting, the hitter must decide how or whether to swing based on the location, speed, and rotation of the pitch.
When base running, the player must choose whether to run or stay and when she can successfully steal.
When fielding grounders or fly balls, the outfielder must determine where to meet the ball and decide where to throw the ball once she has it.
Good vision can make an average player a great player, and bad vision can keep a great player from truly excelling. The following drills will help players at any level improve their softball vision.
Use a permanent marker to write the numbers zero through nine on hitting practice balls. Use a black marker for some balls and a red marker for other balls (or add even more colors - just remember to change up the colors and numbers so players can't remember). As they practice hitting, have them identify the balls before they take a swing. Progress through these drills, which start easy and then get more difficult:
Identify just the color.
Identify just the number.
Say both the color and the number.
For an additional challenge, increase the speed of the pitches.
Colored Ball Drill
Use different colors to mark balls used for hitting practice. Players will swing based on the action designated for each color. For example:
Black mark - hit away
Red mark - do not swing
Blue mark - bunt
Players can also work on improving their vision at home. Simple exercises like training their eyes to switch from focusing on a computer screen or a book to focusing on a specific object in the distance (like a photo across the room or a tree across the street) will help increase focus time and vision accuracy.
Also, when players are driving, they should practice moving their eyes from focusing on the dashboard to looking at license plates of other cars on the road. If a player has access to a record player, she can improve her dynamic visual acuity by placing small letters from a magazine on the record and practice identifying them as it revolves.
Visit Softball Spot for more softball hitting drills, pitching drills, defensive drills, and baserunning drills.