Recap Show: Dr. Bill Harrison

Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development.

Summary:

On this episode, Host, Geoff Rottmayer, recaps his conversation with Dr. Bill Harrison of Slowthegamedown.com. The biggest takeaways that he discussed on this show are:

  • How to see the ball
    • Geoff discusses Dr. Bill process and then how he uses it with his guys.
  •  Making seeing the baseball a top priority.
  • What does it look like in training?
  • The difference in the peripheral vision vs central vision and how to sue such.
  • The concept of visual thinking over visualization.
  • The concept of re-playing and pre-playing.
  • Understanding the task at hand.
  • Difference between seeing sitting in a chair vs seeing 90+ mph with movement.

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Email Address:geoff@baseballawakening.com

Transcribe:

Hey guys Geoff Rottmayer here and this is The Baseball Awakening recap show where I share with you the biggest takeaways I got from my conversation the last couple of days with Dr. Bill Harrison – as well as share How I plan to implement what I have learned with my players that I train at my academy in Tulsa Oklahoma. 

Before I get started, one thing I want you to know, is that I want to hear from you because different things mean things things to different people so it would be interesting to see how you guys interpret something that Dr. Bill said the last couple of days or what I am going to say today. I will make a show reading off your emails because we cal all learn something from it, so my email is going to be geoff@baseballawakening.com, so send me your thoughts, comment, or feedback. 

This conversation with Dr. Bill Harrison was awesome, I learned a lot. There is so much information in this conversation and it worth listening to several times. It makes this recap show tough because, I did learn so much and there is a lot of things to implement.

After Dr. Bill shared with us his story the first question I asked him was about seeing the ball and how it assumed that player know what this means.The how to part of seeing the ball isnt a big enough focus. Think about it, how much time do you spend with your players talking about seeing the ball and training it?So how do we do it: first, as Dr. Bill said – you have to make it a top priority. So you need to have session where you are working on mechanics and stuff but you need sessions where you put everything aside and just focus the entire time on seeing the baseball. So what does this session look like: we are putting away mechanics talk and we are talking about what we are seeing and how we are seeing it. We follow Dr. Bill suggestion on keeping the eyes relax and keeping the eyes moving. Tell guy how to be at the right place at the right time. So now what does this mean and how do we tell guys to do that: we follow Dr Bill suggestion in that we use our peripheral vision to see the pitching go through the delivery and we use our central vision to zoom in on where the ball is released. So Dr Bill example was if they pitcher is throwing from over the top, as he move down the hill, the release point is going to be at arm pit height, so the peripheral vision is seeing the pitching moving and your central vision is zooming in on the release point at the arm pit height. Now that I am done playing and understand this concept, I see the ball better than I did when I played – maybe I should say, more consistently. This is a lot of great information. This is what I have done with my guys and the guys that take it seriously are seeing great results. These guys are getting so lost in the baseball that they don’t know what they are doing, they just see it and react. This can be trained and must be trained. I would refer to Dr. Bill, slowthegamedown.com on his training protocol, but I will also include a pdf in my show notes on the vision work we do at my academy.  

As our conversation goes on, I ask Dr, Bill how to teach visualization and he said he liked the term visual thinking much better and this refers to the concept of seeing yourself hitting a pitch, or receiving a ground ball and making a throw.So I asked how it trains that, and he says its tough and i assume its because you cannot see what someone it thinking and you cannot measure visual thinking so the first thing he said to do is to make them aware of it.You want them to develop the habit or replaying any successful action you have on the baseball field, in the cages or in the bullpen. But when you are in batting practice, and you see a ball well and hit it hard, he wants you to try and have an otter body experience and see yourself repeating what you saw and felt that product that swing. Don’t not over analyze it, just simple replay it and store for future use.  The concept of using it for future is what he refers to as pre-playing – pre-play an action you took before prior to getting in the batter box. Dr Bill says it not going to guarantee results but he never had anyone complain when he presents them with this concept. So now this takes away mindless work in the cages, bullpens and taking ground balls. Replay and pre-play – develop the habit so you can use it to your advantage at later date so you do not over think. So what am I having our guys do? Exactly that, I want them to pause before their next swing or next throw and i want them to replay good throws or hits and I want them to pre-play before their next wing and throw. Try it, I think there is something to it, again for the guys that buy into it, i see things. 

Later on in the conversation, Dr. Bill talks about understanding the task at hand. I really like that and that needs to be communicated to players. His examples were: the task of hitting is to see the ball really well, make solid contact and take the pitch properly. Pitching task, is to make quality pitch to a specific target. This is awesome and I feel needs to be taught to all players. I have attached a pdf in the show notes, and the many different parts of the game and the task.  

Later on we talks about having good vision sitting on a chair looking at a clarity chart isn’t the same as seeing the baseball coming 90+ with movement. SO ensure, if baseball is what you want to do, pay a visit to Dr. Bill or find a sports vision doctor. Any ole doctor isn’t going to understand what sports vision doctor do. There isn’t a ton of them out there so do some research and find the right guy, it will be worth it.  Vision work is not sexy but its super important. Dr. Bill has a huge long list of guy who have had tons of success using this process, to include Barry Bonds. We see big leaguers take batting practice and throwing but you don’t see them working on their vision, you don’t see them working on visual thinking, which is a shame because if you saw how seriously they took this training, you would too. 

I could go on and on about this conversation but the last thing I am going to share, I ask Dr.Bill you one can get to 100% in seeing the ball and he said you can get close if you make it a top priority. You need to build it into your session, have days where you focus mechanics but have days dedicated to seeing the ball. As we approach the season here in Oklahoma, my high school guys have basically been turned over to focus of seeing the ball and letting their body react. Listen to the conversation again and again, I have listen to it 10 times already as I record this recap show. Thanks for tuning in and we will catch you next time.