​Ryan Harrison - Slow The Game Down

Baseball is 100% Visual: Where to Look Before and During The Pitch To Improve Vision and Results

Ryan Harrison

, a certified Sports Performance Vision Trainer, has a degree in Exercise Physiology from University of California at Davis. Ryan has worked with Dr. Harrison on improving athlete’s visual performance on the field since 1000. Through the years he has worked hundreds of baseball stars including position players,; Carlos Beltran, Mike Sweeney, Sean Casey, Jose Guillen, Jonny Gomes, Adam Dunn, Angel Pagan, Giancarlo Stanton and Hunter Pence in the 2000’s, and Rajai Davis, Hunter Pence, Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, Conor Gillaspie, Ryan Goins, Kevin Pillar and Trevor Brown in recent years. He currently working 2012, 2010 and 2014 World Champions San Francisco Giants. He previously has worked with the Toronto Blue Jays 2011-2015 and Philadelphia Phillies 2009-2012 as well as 9 other Professional Baseball Organizations over the last 14 years. Collegiately he has worked with the 2016 NCAA Champions Coastal Carolina, the 2012 NCAA Champions Arizona Wildcats, the 2013 NCAA Champions UCLA Bruins, as well as Oregon State, Wichita State, Kentucky, and Long Beach State. Ryan has worked with many Collegiate Softball programs, individual athletes in various sports such as MMA, Motocross, NHL, NFL, WTA, AVP, PGA. Following his work with top professional and amateur athletes, he conceived the idea of training necessary performance skills with digital technology. The STGD Athlete APP and SportsEyesite™ software is a result of his goal to develop training products so that everyone could benefit at a fraction of the cost of having this training and without the need to go to a specialty clinic.

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Summary and Action Plan below


Ryan and his father Bill have been working with MLB teams for many years now, and they are constantly re-evaluating players’ progress from year to year.

People think, “Do I see or not see?” But it’s not that simple. Don’t assume that your kid can see, but there are players who have vision issues that are uncorrected and not something that the standard 20/20 medical techniques and exams diagnose.

Very rarely do they run into vision issues that are not trainable, which is very encouraging.

*How* you use your eyes on the field will determine success. So it’s not about clarity (thinking “the kid doesn’t need glasses so he sees fine”) but more about how he is switching focus points on the field.

There are 7 muscles in each eye, and 6 are involved in tracking a ball. So if some of those muscles haven’t been exercised properly then the eyes won’t work together in unison, which obviously makes a pitch very difficult to pick up.

Fine Focus vs Soft Focus. Soft focus is trying to see everything, the panorama. The term Hard Focus is more of stare mode, and if you lock in too early that isn’t helpful either because your eyes lose their flexibility. Example: If you fine focus on a sign on the highway, it seems to move slowly. But if you’re in a soft focus on signs/other cars/ panorama then the signs seem to fly by rather quickly.

So when the pitcher is on the mound, soft focus isn’t ideal to start as it tends to encourage thought (which is bad at the plate of course!). Ideally you want to go back and forth between different fine focuses. Once pitcher goes into motion, a good option would be to focus on the hat, and once the ball gets to the release point the eyes should switch to that window.

When you’re under stress, your eyes respond similar to your hands with a bit of trembling and they become less efficient in tracking.

Picking up spin is so crucial for hitters facing pitchers throwing a variety of pitchers, and a way to train the eyes is to do “speed of recognition” drills, where you’re having to pick up the direction different arrows are pointing...quickly.

Part of improving your tactical approach to improving vision should come during practice - by switching from your catch partner’s chest to his release point, from the BP coach’s hat to his release point. Actively and mindfully work on *where* you are looking and you will improve.

An MLB player gets 600+ AB’s and roughly 4 pitches per at bat (2400 pitches). You have 2400 pitches to accomplish your task, and how better could you perform if you saw 10% better? If you saw 240 pitches better? There’s no telling the ceiling.

We want the best for our kids and trying to give them direction, but when we’re talking to them, they can’t see.

You can’t focus on what you’re looking at and what you’re listening to at the same time. Too many cue’s literally weakens vision. Actually makes you “functionally blind”.


Make sure the next time you practice that you spend time working on your eye “transitions”. When playing catch with your partner, look at his chest or cap, and then move your eyes to see his release point. Do not let catch time simply be lazy, don’t work on anything/barely getting loose time. Practice going from a softer focus to a fine focus. Every throw is an opportunity to strengthen your eye muscles (and YES they’re muscles...very important).

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