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MaxBP Drill of the Week: Using Your Eyes

  • by Neil McConnell
  • 3 min read

MaxBP Reaction Training Drill – “Using Your Eyes” (Catcher’s Drill) [VIDEO]

Improved reaction timing is established with the use of the MaxBP pitching machine. It will improve overall hand-eye coordination as well as increase pitch recognition in the batter’s box through quicker adjustments to off-speed pitches.

What is the focus of this MaxBP visual drill?

In this video, Ryan Harrison with Slow The Game Down displays the value of using the MaxBP Wiffle® ball pitching machine for the “Using Your Eyes” training drill. Professional baseball player and catcher, Tyler Heineman, joins Ryan for the drill, demonstrating major league talent. Notice how Tyler is crouching in his catcher stance throughout the drill with his safety glasses while wearing a batting glove after it crosses home plate.

Why is the MaxBP visual training drill effective?

In baseball, the player's hands are everything. This is especially true for catchers who are catching pitches on every throw, sometimes three hundred pitches in a game. During this drill, the catcher protected by eyewear and a batting glove. The aim of the drill is to train the catcher’s hands to be softer while his eyes more focused without a catcher’s mitt and still at a fast speed. The “Using Your Eyes” training drill increases his reaction time by moving his glove hand to the small ball’s predicted location and in turn enforcing that the catcher maintains a relaxed state of mind.  

Overall, the “Using Your Eyes” training drill improves catcher’s receiving skills. If completed correctly, the drill will strengthen a catcher’s ability to catch a smaller ball without a glove.  Therefore, the repetition will increase the catcher’s focus, hand-eye coordination, and receiving skills by introducing a soft hands technique. This is because a catcher will be hard pressed to catch a Wiffle® ball with stiff hands.

How can coaches implement this drill with their teams?

When utilizing the MaxBP Wiffle® ball pitching machine, a coach or assistant can easily control the direction of the ball by moving the outside of the machine box. General catcher’s knowledge will relay that the ball may not end up where the catcher’s glove is initially located after the pitcher agrees to the pitch selection. The MaxBP machine prepares you for this unpredicted ball location by directing the ball filter anywhere in the zone. The catcher must then “react, track, and catch” the ball with his hand.  

Different variations of the visual technique drill? 

Pitch framing is an essential part of baseball. The best catchers increase their team’s chance of winning games by influencing the umpire to call borderline balls as strikes (e.g., pitch framing).  As described earlier, the “Using Your Eyes” training drill forces a catcher to use soft hands in receiving the ball, however it can also be applied as an opportunity for the catcher to maneuver his hand to a specific location behind home plate.  The “pitch framing” variation will aid a catcher’s maneuvering time while practicing with a small ball and no catcher’s mitt.  Reaction and maneuvering are essential to a catcher’s skill set. This is due to the importance of pitch framing. Pitch Framing convinces the umpire that a strike has always been a strike, though the catcher may have “framed” the pitch to appear better than the actual play because the ball was well-received by the catcher. 

In addition, while using the MaxBP Pro Pitching Machine, you will increase the rapidness of the drill by removing the ball plugs at the bottom of the container. This will support the catcher’s endurance and reaction time behind the plate. The variation will force the catcher to be soft in receiving, but quick in responding.

Why small ball training with a MaxBP machine is important.

When the Wiffle® ball is small and a catcher’s mitt is excluded from the “Using Your Eyes” training drill, it reinstates the “aim small, miss small” adage. In turn, during live games, a catcher is more prepared to receive pitches with baseballs using a catcher’s mitt. When you add the rapidness aspect, it increases a catcher’s endurance, reaction time, and pitch framing abilities far beyond the speed of a professional game.

The MaxBP machine focuses on small ball training using golf-sized Wiffle® balls for better pitch recognition and reaction. Small ball training improves hand-eye coordination and encourages more solid contact.

Check out the MaxBP pitching machines used in this video on the links below.

MAXBP PRO - Advanced model for teams and experienced hitters


3-piece BetterBat

Insider Bat

Golf Wiffle® Balls