Hitting, broken down physiologically, is a series of ocular and brain based actions that in turn cause a physical reaction. The goal of our conditioning process over time is to create an automatic, solidly conditioned reflex of the muscles that swing the bat which is triggered by a visual stimulus of the retina and is instantaneously interpreted by the brain as correct (a strike), to accurately contact the ball. Thought is totally bypassed. As the players’ repetitions increase, the brain is adjusting and creating stronger and quicker neurological pathway between the eyes, brain and muscles.
Your central vision plane is the most reliable and accurate way to track a ball. When you are in the batter’s box, it is critical that you see the ball as clearly as possible to give yourself the best chance to make contact. The pitcher is trying to keep you off balance and fool you visually by throwing different pitches at various speeds. They are creating as many variables from pitch to pitch to change what you see, creating an environment where you have to constantly adjust. If you are inconsistent in tracking the ball, you are adding to those variables. You must keep the ball in your central vision from the pitchers hand all the way into the hitting zone. When you are mechanically consistent in tracking the ball, the most accurate information is being sent to the brain. When the ball travels into your peripheral vision under certain circumstances a mixed and inaccurate message or an “illusion” can occur. Here is a link to an example of what can happen in your peripheral vision. Have some fun with Dr. Shapiro’s award winning illusion and “see” what’s really happening with the ball.
What People Say :
"If batting is an evolving science, then (Edgar) Martinez represents its most-advanced stage of evolution. He’s the specialist, a designated hitter not bothered with the distraction of defense except during a few interleague games.
He performs eye exercises twice a day, for 45 minutes in the morning and then for 5 to 10 minutes, about 30 minutes before game time.
Martinez also bunts against those high-velocity balls. “After tracking a smaller ball going 150 miles and hour,” Martinez says, “a baseball going 90 doesn’t seem so fast.”
“The condition of the body determines your ability to play the game,” he says, “and I want to be in the best condition possible.” Right up to and including his eyeballs. The man is a hitter. –Sports Illustrated
“What they're doing is training my eye muscles to pick up that ball farther out there and have clarity on it all the way to the plate. The longer you have to react to a pitch, the better chance you have to have success with it, or lay off it. This is a training tool." –Arizona Diamondbacks News, Saturday February, 24th 2001.
“Our Softball Team at the University of Washington has been able to see major improvements in our offensive production over the last 2 years. We have been able to steadily improve upon our walk to strikeout ratio, in part because of our steady training with the High Tech Vision Training machine. The concept of Vision training has allowed our student-athletes and our coaches to find a way to efficiently and effectively ad a vision training element to our daily practice routine. The fact that the vision trainer is a physical tool versus a computer model - we feel that there is a high level of physical and mental transfer into the game. Our student-athletes believe in the concept of vision training and the mental and physical benefits we have seen from their use of the vision training machine are priceless." –Heather Tarr, Head Coach, University of Washington Softball, 2009 NCAA World Series Champions
“ALL of our patients love HTVT, not only is it great for a multitude of sports but it helps them slow the game down visually, and get them 'in the zone'.” “Our experience with HTVT (we call it Accutrack) is fabulous. It helps our Sports Vison patients get that needed edge over the competition” –Dr. Bill Lay, The Solution Center
My name is Lonnie Hicks and I am the Head Softball Coach at Western Washington University. I started working with Tom Davidson a few years ago and was introduced to his vision training equipment and techniques. I truly was surprised the first time I attempted to actually track ball. Having played ball all of my life, I was sure that I would have little trouble. After a half hour, "lesson", I realized that I was losing sight of the ball approx. 9 feet in front of me. I was able to spend several hours working with Tom and he taught me how to instruct with the machine and assist hitters. We now use the equipment here and have seen batting averages go up along with walks and our strikeouts drop. It is a proven piece of equipment for us and fun to watch new players excitement when they suddenly "see" the colors and numbers on the balls for the first time.
I want to thank Tom again, as I have many times before, for the opportunity of working with him and the improved success we are experiencing with our players. –Respectfully, Lonnie Hicks, Head Softball Coach, Western Washington University
As a parent of a player and as a coach of a select softball team I want to pass along to you how pleased I am with your vision training program. As a parent, I have seen a dramatic improvement in my daughter’s success at the plate. In the past two years her batting average has improved, she is hitting for power now and her strikeouts have gone way down. She led her high school league in home runs and her select team in slugging percentage. With this improvement in performance came an increase in confidence, which makes for a better hitter.
As a coach of a select team, I have seen the same improvement in all of our players that have entered your program. In fast-pitch softball the pitch typically breaks near the plate and a batter that can consistently track the ball to the barrel of the bat will have better success and hit the ball harder than one that doesn't.
Keep up the good work and thank you very much. Sincerely –Lance Aasness, Northwest Lady Sharks, Parent
In my freshman year, I ended up with a .310 batting average, 4 doubles, 0 home runs and 17 strikeouts for example. I took Vision Training the winter of my sophomore year in high school with Tom Davidson and ended up having one of my best offensive years ever. I ended up with a .419 batting average, 25 RBI's, 9 doubles, 5 home runs and only 20 strikeouts. I was not able to attend Vision Training in my Junior year and dropped back down to a .327 batting average, 20 RBI's, 4 doubles, 2 homeruns and 13 strikeouts. I started this year hitting the ball really well, but haven’t continued to improve and I really think it has to do with the Vision Training not continuing. –Cory, Student Athlete
In 2004 my daughter started playing fast pitch softball and really had trouble in the batter's box. She was timid with fast pitch and rarely hit the ball, unless the pitch had an arc to it. As most parents and coaches know, success in the batter's box is a big deal. If your kid rips the ball they feel great, but if they have to jog back to the dugout with another K, they are not feeling so good. I consulted with experienced coaches on how to solve this issue and I was told about High Tech Vision and Tom Davidson. They explained they had their older girls participating in weekly sessions of vision training and had seen a benefit in a short time. I signed her up for weekly sessions as well and in a short time she was doing better in the box. She was not stepping out (or bailing out), she was hitting inside pitches to the left fields and outside pitches mostly to the right field. She was just more comfortable watching the ball come to her bat and her focus on the ball was much more intense. She played on the best 10 and under team in Washington State last year and was consistently on one of the top three or four hitters on the team, After 73 games played in the 2005 season, she went to the plate 193 times, had a batting average of 374 and on base percentage of 503 and about 40 vision training lessons with Tom Davidson. She went from being timid to really loving being in the batter's box. She continued working with Tom through the winter and came out hitting the ball very strong. She played in a tournament this spring and went to the plate 21 times, had 17 hits, put out 3 times and walked 1 time. No "K's". We are hopeful of a successful 2006 season. I would highly recommend Hightech Vision Training for any athlete that wants to improve their hitting game. I believe the vision training does several things for the athlete. It improves the mechanics of their eyes and head, tracking the ball all the way to their bat, increases focus, improves confidence and the end result is more success in the batter's box. My son just turned 9 and just had his first session with Tom. We are here to stay! –Dale Egan, Parent
Vision training has allowed me to be able to track and follow pitches significantly better. Also when I see faster pitching it helps slow the game way down. Vision has given me both a mental and physical edge. Not only has it improved my hitting, but it has also given me more confidence in my swing that I feel I have an advantage over any pitcher I face. I absolutely recommend Vision Training because it will help your game tremendously. –Bryan, 17yo
Vision has benefited both me and my game by helping me see the ball and the different pitches that are coming, so I make better contact on the ball. It helps me to give me more confidence when I am up to bat and also I can see what it's done for me both mentally and physically. I definitely recommend Vision Training! I tell people that it is helping and an easy way to hit better and have confidence, but at the same time it's fun and you're doing a sport you love! –Alyssa, 14yo
How it Works
The most important aspect of hitting is the visual process, yet most players use their peripheral vision. They have what we call “target fixation”. When they see the ball and make the decision to hit, their eyes “fix” or freeze on that spot as the ball travels into the hitting zone. Their eyes are somewhere between the pitcher and the plate while the ball is over the plate. Major league players who hit the ball well have one thing in common; they use their central vision longer, keeping their eyes on the ball into the hitting zone. If you see their at bat in slow motion, their eyes are fixed on the ball or very close to it as they are hitting it. In our conditioning sessions, we work to ensure proper positioning of the body, head and eyes.
The player then tracks balls at speeds of 60 to 150 miles per hour using our patented machine. The player concentrates on recognizing and tracking through the hitting zone. After tracking drills, we have a series of bunting and hitting drills at pitching speeds he or she usually faces in a game. This further conditions the player to see the ball to the point of contact (where the ball hits the bat). By combining the high speeds and tracking exercises, the physical and mental aspects of hitting is brought together in one exercise. When the eyes track the ball properly, the batter’s mechanics fall into place. It is much less likely that a batter will step out if his/her eyes and head are right on the ball.
Once the eyes and brain begin to connect and develop recognition at high speeds, the players’ visual processing speeds up. This advantage gives a player more time to adjust to pitches during a game. During the training sessions we condition each player to ”trust what they see”, because their eyes will tell them everything they need to know. As the batter learns to trust what they see, they develop a flex reaction to commit to a pitch or not, rather than thinking at the plate. Again, seeing the ball properly is critical. Once a player is successfully tracking a ball at over 100 miles per hour, a 60 to 95 mile per hour pitch is not as difficult to hit. This focus and concentration level changes the batter’s vision from a defensive posture to offensive, creating a mental state of mind that produces more consistent and solid contact with the ball.
High-Tech Vision Training: Seeing is believing…
High-Tech Vision Training is a highly effective and innovative way of training a baseball/softball player’s eyes to track balls with precision at high speeds. Done regularly, vision training conditions a player’s eyes to identify pitches and track balls into the hitting zone, allowing more time for adjustment and more accurate and solid contact with the ball.
Baseball and Softball are becoming more and more competitive at every level. High-Tech Vision Training gives athletes a mental and physical advantage over other players by enhancing vision, concentration levels, focus, tracking abilities, eye positioning and hand-eye coordination.
Tom Davidson has worked with numerous professional baseball teams including Seattle, Colorado, Detroit, San Diego and the 2001 World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks as well as National Champions of Softball University of Washington and Arizona State. Working with some of the top players of today’s game, Tom has developed methods to enhance a player’s vision, concentration levels, focus, tracking abilities, eye positioning and hand-eye coordination. These methods have given professional athletes a mental and physical advantage over other players, and his work with collegiate players, amateurs and youth in baseball and softball has produced the same excellent results.