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Softball and Baseball Drills for Hand-Eye Coordination


By Prev Info - December 14, 2022

Baseball,

Great hand-eye coordination is essential for hitting against an ace like Jennie Finch.

Hitting a baseball or softball thrown by an accomplished pitcher is one of the toughest tasks in sports. Fastballs can be thrown at speeds upward of 100 mph, and the best softball pitchers hurl it toward the plate at 70 mph. As STACK explains, a pitched ball can reach you in just .4 seconds. Excellent hand-eye coordination is vitally important in the field as well. 

Infielders must deal with wickedly bad hops and outfielders must react immediately to drives off the bat. There are a number of ways, some simple and some sophisticated, to improve hand-eye coordination, and they can be used by both baseball and softball players.

Basic Softball Drills

Veteran softball coach Becky Wittenberg offers two fast-pitch hitting drills, which baseball players can also use, on Softball Spot. One is a high-low toss drill. Two balls are thrown toward the batter and the coach calls out "high" or "low." The batter must pick out and hit the correct pitch. The second is a hitting-progression drill. You begin by hitting bigger balls, such as a basketball, off of a tee. You then work your way down to a golf ball and finally to popcorn kernels. The big balls develop hitting strength and the small objects develop hand-eye coordination as well as quick reactions.

Basic Baseball Drill

Many young players have poor hand-eye coordination, according to baseball coach Kevin Coury at the SwingAwayBlog. This lack of coordination can result from fear of the ball. To improve hand-eye coordination and alleviate some fear of live pitching, a good drill is to hold the bat over the plate without swinging. Concentrate on the ball and simply move the bat up or down to make contact. This will enable the player to focus on seeing the ball hit the bat and improve hand-eye coordination. Players can progress to taking a half-swing, again focusing on seeing the bat hit the ball.

Advanced Drills

Drills from optometrist and physician Dr. Larry Lampert are offered at the STACK website. A flashlight drill can be used by all athletes, but it's particularly useful for baseball players. These drills can "help you keep track of a baseball through its entire path," according to Lampert. By working with a partner in the dark and moving a flashlight beam at various speeds, you'll improve both smooth eye movements, called pursuits, and jumping eye movements, known as saccades. Lampert also recommends a bug-walk drill, using two strings in various configurations to train your eyes to focus accurately in order to track the ball.

General Hand-Eye Drills

There are a number of other hand-eye coordination drills that can help baseball and softball players, as well as other athletes. Bodyomics recommends drills for both younger athletes and adults. A goalie drill, for which you try to catch a Nerf ball in your hands as it's thrown at the goal by a partner, is an excellent drill for fielding practice. Softball players can write a letters or numbers on a ball and play catch. You can call out the last number or letter you see just before you catch the ball, or just throw a baseball or softball repeatedly in air and catch it. This simple drill will improve your hand-eye coordination.

How to Tape Fingers for Baseball

Taping a finger protects it from a head-on impact.

Jamming a finger can be painful, but unless you have a fracture or torn ligament, then taping the finger to an adjacent finger can get you back in the game. If you can't bend your finger or if the area is severely swollen, then the injury is too severe to tape. Once a doctor clears you for play, a coach can use athletic tape to anchor the injured finger against a neighboring digit.

Instructions

1 - Extend the injured finger and an adjacent finger. For an injured ring or pinkie finger, extend the adjacent ring or pinkie; for an injured middle or index finger, extend the adjacent middle or index finger.

2 - Press the two fingers together gently.

3 - Wrap a single layer of athletic tape around the base of the fingers, then rip the tape off. The tape should be tight enough to secure your fingers together without restricting blood flow.

4 - Wrap a second layer of tape around the base of the fingers.

5 - Wrap two layers of tape around the middle phalanx of the fingers, which is the flat area just above the interphalangeal or main knuckle in the middle of the finger.

6 - Apply an ice pack to the sprained finger for 20 minutes after your game or practice to relieve swelling.

Tips & Warnings

Stop playing and seek medical treatment if you jam the injured finger, or if you experience increased pain or swelling.






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