A young baseball player with a vision problem rarely progresses very far in the game. They either don’t play very well or find the game too frustrating to play. The game commonly follows “survival of the fittest.” If you can’t throw you don’t become a pitcher, if you can’t run you don’t become a shortstop or a centerfielder, and if you can’t see properly you can’t hit.
Survival of the fittest has a big effect on a baseball player’s career. It’s not just physical fitness that is important. Mental fitness and visual fitness may be even more important.
A baseball player deserves high quality equipment Players at any age will perform better and feel more confident use high quality equipment. Due to the technological revolution equipment just gets better and better.
The player’s body is also part of his equipment, and for certain, his eyes, are important part of his equipment. Vision that is adequate for normal living frequently is not adequate for top baseball competition.
Over the last forty years I have evaluated the baseball related vision skills of thousands of baseball players. At the major league level, the problems revealed usually a very subtle. These are slight vision problems that would not effect the common person on the street. But the major league players have learned that the smallest eyesight problem can be a handicap to them at times, and most choose to have their vision corrected with contact lenses, laser surgery or eye training when appropriate.
In my experience the visual skills that specifically affect eye-hand coordination in baseball are 1) distance depth perception, 2) contrast sensitivity or 3) free space convergence and divergence skills and 4) best corrected vision for emmetropia.
The best eye test available is trying to hit high quality pitching. This will usually reveal the quality of vision that a player possesses. Any hitter that has a high batting average, limited strike outs and hits for power must have adequate vision for the level he is playing. Likewise any with hitter that has lower average, frequent outs and displays limited power likely has some form of vision problem.
An even better test of a baseball player’s vision is to compare his results and specifically his timing when playing under lights or poor seeing conditions the way he performs in daylight with good illumination on the ball.
Another insight is comparing the hitter’s performance against high speed pitching with average speed pitching.
An eye examination may be more important than anything the player does to get ready for the season. If has a problem and gets it resolved it will likely help in baseball, but in the classroom and his personal life.