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Dave - you have a great tool .. especially because the player incorporates moving / engaging / syncing his body with the moving ball .. "Trying to hit it" .. I have discovered attempting the same approach with a jugs or atec machine , speeding it up to 95 mph.. and just watching the balls - IS NOT GOOD enough.. the PLAYER needs to move / swing with the pitch.. The bad thing about the jugs / atec is that it produces MORE back spin than normal on the ball , than would a human pitcher, .. The torque on the machine spin is scarry / unsafe... and most people don't realize that..
Something to consider - 19 years of teaching hitting.. I've stopped telling players to watch the ball into the catcher's glove years ago - Because, being a former player, I realized that I wanted my attention to the ball to STOP, at the moment of the projected impact .. This notion blends together with the recent SI article Aug 6 2011 and Sports Medicines NEW Frontiers ..where better players anticipate and read info faster..
Good hitters - know where good contact needs to be at better than others, and get lock on in that area.. following it into the catcher's mitt.. I found to be over kill - and PAST the focal point ....
I understand what you are saying. During the tracking drill we have the batter track the ball all the way into the net until the ball comes to a stop. We do this to increase their visual range. Most players during an at bat leave their eyes somewhere between ten and fifteen feet in front of the plate. Their eyes automatically stop whether they are tracking or hitting. Just habit. This tracking process breaks that "visual wall". The first few sessions players do this, they are almost incapable and very uncomfortable following the ball through to the net. After a while they develop that extra range. This additional range helps them track the ball deeper into the hitting zone, helping them see later movement on the ball and taking it to the opposite field on purpose. During the bunting drill, they track it all the way to the bat. Even that is past the focal point or the point of contact. After they have mastered these two drills, they are much more comfortable tracking the ball deeper into the zone and getting better contact. It is like an athlete performing a speed drill. You have one guy who does the drill on grass. Another guy does it on grass, hard wood and then on sand. The second guy will be a better athlete because he has a greater range. These drills were developed working with Edgar Martinez, Ichiro and Ken Griffey Jr. in the early 2000s.