How to face a deceptive pitcher

Facing a guy who’s gangly, throws from the side, hides the ball well, varies their release points from one pitch to the next…

….they’re no fun.

The only thing you can really do is to try slowing the game down by slowing down your feet and quieting your head.

Easier said than done. Sure but here’s exactly how to do it.

1. Shorten the stride – Try a post-stride like Albert Pujols or a toe-tap like Derek Jeter. The point is to try and minimize the amount of moving parts so you can focus on the most important thing. Seeing the ball as well as possible. 

2. Keep the head on a swivel – How well we see the ball depends on how well the optic nerve in our “eye sockets” gather info for us to make a decision to swing or not. 

The better this process. The better the results.

Fortunately, it’s a muscle you can train.

The more your head moves, the more your eyes move. A quiet head gives you an effective visual performance.

Try this out the next time you face a deceptive pitcher who you’re having trouble getting comfortable in the box with.

Pro & College Level Pitch Recogntion & Vision Training Sequences.

Speciality Pitch Recogntion & Vision Training Sequences.

How To Catch Up To HIGH HEAT

If you’re having trouble catching up to the fastball, ESPECIALLY the HIGH HEAT, it’s probably because of two things.

  1. You’re not starting your load early enough. – Often times a hitter runs into trouble when they get to the point of contact too late because the’y’ve initiated their speration and stride way to late.

  2. You have too much head movement – When the head moves the eyes moves. If you wanna make 90 mph look like 85mph, slow your feet and head down. If you wanna make 90 mph look like 95 mph…speed your feed up.

Here’s what you need to be thinking about.

Have the right approach and:

Think driving the ball up the middle.

Think slowing your stride down. Especially if you have a leg kick.

Think keeping your head as still as possible. (Head on a swivel)

Key point: When you slow your feet and head down, you slow the pitch down.

The slower the game feels, the better you’ll perform.

Takes practice, sure…which is why repitition is key.

That’s what we do in gS. If you’re ready to get to work, we’ll see you on the inside.

Pro & College Level Pitch Recogntion & Vision Training Sequences.

Speciality Pitch Recogntion & Vision Training Sequences.

How to recognize the curveball.


 Begin your Pitch Recognition & Vision Training w/ 30% off an annual membership here! Begin your Pitch Recognition & Vision Training w/ 30% off an annual membership here!

You spend hours in the cage making sure you’re driving the fastball with calmness, toughness, and focus.

You work on hitting for a little more pop.

You work on driving the ball to the opposite field.

You’re ready because you put in the work.

You’re confident because you feel prepared.

The game starts…


You’re facing a guy who pitches off of his breaking pitch.

He starts at-bats off with a curve-ball.

He throws one in a 2-0 count.

Heck, he even throws one in a full count.

You’re just a dressed up out…

…you weren’t so prepared after all.

At gameSense, we believe most hitters struggle with the breaking ball because they don’t practice recognizing and adjusting to it in real time.

Train to see the breaking ball is our bread and butter at gS.

So as a hitter, what is the adjustment we need to make to see it sooner?

Try this tip…


Instead of looking for “spin” look for the “pop up”.

Here’s what we mean.

Typically, a breaking ball pitch will look as if it’s popping out of the pitcher’s hand when you compare it to the fastball.

When you train yourself to see the “popping out” of the hand, you’ll be able to make the adjustment that much quicker.

Hitting the breaking ball really comes down to two things.

  1. Recognizing the pitch early.

  2. Anticipating where it’s going to be after it breaks at the point of contact.

Make sense?

If you are mashing the fastball but look like a deer in the headlights on the curve-ball, train to see this pitch sooner and with quicker reaction with GameSense vision/brain training.

P.S. Remember, when you learn how to anticipate the breaking ball up in the zone, that’s when you’ll do the most damage.

There’s a reason why pitchers are taught to keep the ball down. Unless the pitcher is throwing 95 mph+, all pitches up in the zone are mistake pitches.

When you get one…don’t miss.

Pro & College Level Pitch Recognition & Vision Training Sequences.

Specialty Pitch Recognition & Vision Training Sequences.

3 Steps To Better Pitch Recognition.


 Begin your Pitch Recognition & Vision Training w/ 30% off an annual membership here! Begin your Pitch Recognition & Vision Training for FREE!

We spent a few hours yesterday sorting out questions about pitch recognition and vision training for ballplayers. One stuck out.

How to pick up the ball more efficiently out of the pitcher’s hand.

Imagine this. You step in the batter’s box. You’re calm and collected. The pitcher releases the ball and you’re able to immediately judge the location, plan, and type of pitch with genuine baseball instinct and vision I.Q.

You take a confident swing because you’re seeing the ball well.

This is a skill that can be taught. Period.

How do we get there?

Start by applying and mastering these three steps to seeing the ball better.

Step 1: Ease the tension around your eyes. Relaxed muscles are quick muscles. Period.

In order to pick up the ball effectively, hitting with calmness and focus is a must.

If you wanna see the ball better, slow down the heartbeat.

Control your breathing.

How: Breath from the belly and not from the upper diaphragm. (chest)

Step 2: When the pitcher is getting their sign, have a general soft focus on the pitcher that’s relatively similar to the distance of where the release point will be.

How: Have a soft focus on the emblem on the pitcher’s cap.

Step 3: Practice a soft to hard focus. Not too early not too late. The better you get at this, the quicker you’ll pick up the pitch.

How: Transfer the soft-focus of the pitcher’s cap to an imaginary window off of the pitcher’s throwing shoulder. (release point)

We practice in the cage to refine our swing.

We practice in GameSense to refine our pitch recognition & vision.

Seeing the ball better can be a powerful tool in the batter’s box.

With this skill in our tool box, we can focus on our approach and the mental side of hitting while competing with 100% confidence.

Sharpen and refine it with tested training in GameSense.

Pro & College Level Pitch Recognition & Vision Training Sequences.

Specialty Pitch Recognition & Vision Training Sequences.

Hunting The Fast-Ball

  Begin your Pitch Recognition & Vision Training w/ 30% off an annual membership    here!
Begin your Pitch Recognition & Vision Training w/ 30% off an annual membership here!

Many players get themselves into trouble at the plate because they’re simply not ready to hit.

They step in the batter’s box thinking, “if it’s a strike, I’m going to swing” instead “it’s going to be a strike right down the plate and I’m going to be ready”.

When a hitter is:

  • hoping to hit the ball instead of knowing.

  • swinging to make HARD SOLID contact instead to NOT miss.

  • competing with a goal to see the ball as well as possible….

Then they’re setting themselves up for success.

Train your mind to be ready to hit and you’ll find your self-showing up on time on the fastball while having the ability to adjust to the offspeed or breaking ball.

Easier said than done? Sure. But by competing with this principle in mind, you’ll not only pick up the pitcher more accurately, but you’ll also be in a position to take a more aggressive hack.

Just another advantage for you.

Pro & College Level Pitch Recogntion & Vision Training Sequences.

Speciality Pitch Recogntion & Vision Training Sequences.

CORE SOFTBALL TRAINING: gameSense Improving Pitch Recognition

Pitch recognition is one of the hardest things to develop in players. The question is; how does gameSense make the process easier? Fadde explains how “the only way to develop pitch recognition is to see thousands of pitches. Chances to practice off real pitchers of equal or better quality are hard to come by. It’s a lot to expect players to “work on it” in the game. Being able to practice “reading” thousands of pitches on video is a lot easier. It can be done on the phone, in the car, lots of places.”

Baseball Pitch Backspin Can Play Tricks On Batters

Hitters have a lot to think about when they’re at the plate. Game situation, pitch count, pitcher tendencies and even the last few at-bats. Picking out the fast ball versus the off-speed pitch is hard enough but what if a pitcher could vary not only his speed and location but also the ball’s backspin? The visual illusion of the rising fastball depends on backspin to counteract gravitational forces during the trajectory to the plate. So, playing with different backspins would directly affect the vertical dimension of the ball flight.

Researchers at Japan’s Waseda University designed an experiment to mess with a group of pro, semi-pro and college hitters by asking them to hit pitches with varying backspins but constant speeds. Their research appeared in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics.

According to the laws of the Magnus effect, the rise and fall of a spinning ball depends on its backspin or topspin, respectively. Just as a curve ball is thrown with topspin, causing the “roll off a table” effect, a fastball is delivered with a two-finger release on the seams and a downward flick of the wrist causing backspin.

Hitters are fooled when their anticipated trajectory does not match the actual trajectory. They expected the ball at the plate to be an inch lower but the backspin kept it up slightly, producing the appearance of a “hop” at the last second.

“Therefore, this study was conducted to test the hypothesis that an increase in ball backspin rate of a fastball would result in a greater distance between the sweet spot to ball center at the moment of ball-bat contact,” wrote Takatoshi Higuchi, Ph.D. and his colleagues. “To test this hypothesis, elite batters attempted to hit balls launched from a pitching machine at a constant speed, but with different backspin rates.”

They recruited 13 experienced baseball players to hit 30 pitches each from a two wheel pitching machine. The researchers randomly changed the backspin rate from 30 revolutions per second (standard for most pro pitchers) to 40 rps and 50 rps. While there is no record of a human pitcher throwing at 50 rps, it served as an endpoint on the spectrum of difficulty. All pitches were delivered at a constant 81 mph, a relatively easy speed for experienced batters.

With high speed cameras on the ball and the player’s bat, the impact point was recorded then measured for the deviation (in mm) in the vertical plane from the sweet spot. Using only four-seam fastballs, the hitters performed as expected. With every 10 rps increase in backspin, the hitter’s average variance from the sweet spot would increase by 14.2mm.  

“What makes a four-seam fastball hard to hit is not only its speed but also the degree to which it is difficult for the batter to predict its trajectory,” wrote the researchers. “An increased ball backspin decreases the drop of a fastball, and a pitched ball with backspin that deviates from the norm produces an unexpected trajectory which decreases the batter’s hitting accuracy.”

This slight change in elevation can be the difference between a clean hit and a ground ball or pop-up. Batters who can see a wide variety of pitchers during pitch recognition sessions will benefit from seeing different backspins and trajectories to train their eyes and brain to deal with it when facing real pitchers.

Dan Peterson is a writer/consultant specializing in the cognitive skills of athletes. 

Righties vs Lefties – The Importance Of Handedness Training In Hitting

It happens in the late innings of just about all close games. To exploit the ideal pitcher-batter match-up, opposing managers play a cat-and-mouse game of lineup changes for pinch hitters and relief pitchers, all designed to get the statistical advantage of handedness.

Most batters would prefer to face an opposite-hand (OH) pitcher, righty vs lefty and vice versa. With the dominance of right-handed pitchers in the game, the left-handed hitter comes to the plate with a built-in advantage. But what exactly is that advantage? What would happen if the pitcher population in the league was more balanced, righties to lefties? Two sets of researchers set out to dig a little deeper into this phenomenon of visual perception.

While studies of handedness show that only 10% of the general population are left-handed, the proportion of left-handed MLB players is closer to 39% of hitters and 28% of pitchers, according to 2012 data. This surprising abundance of lefties in baseball is even more pronounced when compared to the NBA (7%) and NFL QBs (7%).

In a 2016 study, 1.3 million play-by-play data points were analyzed from MLB games covering the 2000 to 2012 seasons. Looking at on-base plus slugging (OPS) percentages, a complete measure of at-bat productivity, left-handed batters (LHB) enjoyed a .787 pace against right-handed pitchers (RHP), while sinking back to a .698 percentage versus left-handed pitchers (LHP).

Similarly over those thirteen seasons, when right-handed batters (RHB) faced opposite-hand pitchers, their OPS was .781 but still were able to hit .723 versus RHP pitchers.

So, the tactical moves to take advantage of OH is clearly shown in this data. But the researchers had one dilemma, “we are unable to explain why the left-handed batters have a larger OH advantage,” not to mention a lower performance against same-hand (SH) pitchers.

Thinking about possible reasons why OH match-ups favor the hitter, there are two main arguments, self-defense and the breaking ball. With a right-handed release to a right-handed batter, the ball seems to be coming right at him. This slight hesitation to stand in against a 90 mph heater may be enough to disrupt the reaction time needed to hit it. The same pitch coming from the opposite side provides a better view across the body. Also, a curve ball from a same-handed pitcher will typically break away from the hitter, causing a reach across the plate.

See More Pitches right on your phone! 

Available for Baseball and Softball

Still, why would RHBs hit 25 percentage points higher versus SH pitchers than LHBs? Enter a study by Dr. Ethan D. Clotfelter of Amherst College where he collected and sorted MLB data across 49 years from 1957 to 2005. Hitters and pitchers were sorted by batting average and earned runs average, respectively. He noted that there was no significant difference in using batting average versus OPS or other offensive stats.

When sorting by handedness in pitchers, he counted the number of innings pitched by either righties or lefties. So, comparing at-bat performances of hitters vs pitchers was closer than just counting the number of RHPs or LHPs in the league.

To his surprise, he found that, “both right- and left-handed batters were significantly more successful, and conversely pitchers were less successful, in years with a high ratio of right to left-handed pitchers.” In other words, when there were significantly more innings pitched by righties, all hitters, from both sides of the plate, performed better. In the same way, in seasons with a more balanced number of innings pitched by both righties and lefties, hitters had a lower batting average.

As we saw in the first data set, the OH advantage is still there but when hitters saw more RHPs, they hit better, even from the right-side, then when the balance of pitchers was more even.

Dr. Clotfelter has an explanation for this, something he calls cognitive representations.

“A useful analogy for the interpretation of these data comes from biological predator-prey systems. Predators are thought to form cognitive representations, called search images, of specific prey types to maximize detection and capture efficiency.”

“Baseball batters may form cognitive representations analogous to search images, and these representations are likely to be strengthened by sequential priming. Such representations may be essential for successful hitting at an elite level, as direct visual information regarding the ball’s trajectory is insufficient or incomplete, particularly for batters facing pitchers of the same handedness.”

In other words, seeing a righty delivery over and over, game after game, builds and strengthens the visual cues necessary to recognize different pitch types. Seeing a more balanced mix of righties and lefties doubles the perception workload, even in OH situations.

This learning curve can be shortened by using technology tools that allow pitch recognition training using video of actual pitchers, both RH and LH. If a player can’t get enough reps in batting practice, they can tailor a virtual pitch recognition session to get just the right ratio of RHP to LHP to improve on their weaknesses.

Dan Peterson is a writer/consultant specializing in the cognitive skills of athletes. 

Increase your Batting Avg. and Slugging % by 20% or more

Decrease Strikeouts by 16% or more

Increase Runs per Game by 48% or more

Works for youth & pro hitters alike