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Unread 06-08-2017, 08:15 AM   #1
msmith
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Default Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

I tried something different tonight behind the plate. And it worked. OMG did it work! Not a single solitary pitch I want back. Not one. My outside zone was 100% consistent, no doubt about it. AND, I also saw every batted ball come off the bat and instantly knew where it went.

I dropped down body and head square to the pitcher, mask bars square to the horizon as I've always done, but with this difference: When I dropped, I also rotated my head/neck just ever so slightly towards the plate and the strike zone to make sure the strike zone and it's fringes, and even the outside "ball" pitch, could be seen with both eyes in perfect binocular stereoscopic vision.

It occurred to me that I was seeing the pitcher's release straight on, but outside batted or other "balls" were being seen by me with just one eye. The reason was that the bridge of my nose blocked my view of that outside pitch--I was just tracking and seeing it with one eye.

I caught the pitcher's release out of the far left side of my mask. But the money call, the area around the plate, was in the middle of my mask with both eyes.

There's not a single pitch I want back. Not a single pitch I'm not 100% confident I didn't call exactly how and why I wanted. Because I knew within at least 1/2 inch exactly where every single pitch was and wasn't.

Try it.
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Unread 06-08-2017, 12:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

That should be part of the standard training -- the nose should point at (about) where BU is in B, or F4. Then, shift the eyes only to see the pitcher and follow the pitch with your eyes. You will be looking straight ahead when the ball is at the plate.
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Unread 06-08-2017, 04:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith View Post
I tried something different tonight behind the plate. And it worked. OMG did it work! Not a single solitary pitch I want back. Not one. My outside zone was 100% consistent, no doubt about it. AND, I also saw every batted ball come off the bat and instantly knew where it went.

I dropped down body and head square to the pitcher, mask bars square to the horizon as I've always done, but with this difference: When I dropped, I also rotated my head/neck just ever so slightly towards the plate and the strike zone to make sure the strike zone and it's fringes, and even the outside "ball" pitch, could be seen with both eyes in perfect binocular stereoscopic vision.

It occurred to me that I was seeing the pitcher's release straight on, but outside batted or other "balls" were being seen by me with just one eye. The reason was that the bridge of my nose blocked my view of that outside pitch--I was just tracking and seeing it with one eye.

I caught the pitcher's release out of the far left side of my mask. But the money call, the area around the plate, was in the middle of my mask with both eyes.

There's not a single pitch I want back. Not a single pitch I'm not 100% confident I didn't call exactly how and why I wanted. Because I knew within at least 1/2 inch exactly where every single pitch was and wasn't.

Try it.
You must have a big nose

Aloha,
Mike
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Unread 08-26-2017, 02:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

Many umpires young and experienced do not square their shoulders up to the pitcher. This could cause similar problems. It appears you corrected any issue you had. I was fortunate to have some good plate trainers from MLB, Ed Rap, Marvin Hudson, Paul Nauert, Tom Hallion and Mike Everett...Not saying I get them all right, but it helps to at least strive for the correct mechanics. When I get younger guys I try to get them to square up.
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Unread 08-30-2017, 05:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

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Originally Posted by grandslam38 View Post
Many umpires young and experienced do not square their shoulders up to the pitcher. This could cause similar problems. It appears you corrected any issue you had. I was fortunate to have some good plate trainers from MLB, Ed Rap, Marvin Hudson, Paul Nauert, Tom Hallion and Mike Everett...Not saying I get them all right, but it helps to at least strive for the correct mechanics. When I get younger guys I try to get them to square up.

In the OP, he's saying that he gets better results with his head *not square* to the pitcher. If you keep your head exactly square to the pitcher, one eye will not be able to see the outside of the strike zone.
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Unread 08-30-2017, 06:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

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Originally Posted by typikon View Post
In the OP, he's saying that he gets better results with his head *not square* to the pitcher. If you keep your head exactly square to the pitcher, one eye will not be able to see the outside of the strike zone.
Not sure I can agree with this...or with the "head not square" mentality...

First, when you are not square (be it head or body) yo are open to injury from an errant pitch, a bounced pitch or a foul ball...I have been square and been hit behind the ear...The baseball can always fins a way...So why make it easier to sustain injury by not staying square...after all, the protection is in front of you...not on the side.

As for not seeing out outside corner with your head square, I think this is more about not being into the slot enough in the first place. We use some training methods that allow the trainer to track the eyes as well as confirm what they are seeing.

If you are up into the slot far enough, unless your nose is HUGE, your eyes should easily be able to see the outside corner...Without the catcher blocking it out...

All a function of solid mechanics.

Aloha,
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Unread 08-30-2017, 06:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mturman View Post
Not sure I can agree with this...or with the "head not square" mentality...

First, when you are not square (be it head or body) yo are open to injury from an errant pitch, a bounced pitch or a foul ball...I have been square and been hit behind the ear...The baseball can always fins a way...So why make it easier to sustain injury by not staying square...after all, the protection is in front of you...not on the side.

As for not seeing out outside corner with your head square, I think this is more about not being into the slot enough in the first place. We use some training methods that allow the trainer to track the eyes as well as confirm what they are seeing.

If you are up into the slot far enough, unless your nose is HUGE, your eyes should easily be able to see the outside corner...Without the catcher blocking it out...

All a function of solid mechanics.

Aloha,
Mike
MSmith is saying that if your head is EXACTLY square to the pitcher, you will not be able to see the outside pitch with one of your eyes. This is easily confirmed by holding a hand up to one side of your head and noticing how big your nose really is! Also, the more the umpire is in the slot, the worse the phenomenon. That's why some umpires prefer the box.
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Unread 08-30-2017, 06:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by typikon View Post
MSmith is saying that if your head is EXACTLY square to the pitcher, you will not be able to see the outside pitch with one of your eyes. This is easily confirmed by holding a hand up to one side of your head and noticing how big your nose really is! Also, the more the umpire is in the slot, the worse the phenomenon. That's why some umpires prefer the box.
Interesting...so I made an eye patch and placed it over my right eye...I held my arm our straight in front of me and slowly brought it back...I lost sight of it at slightly more than the 45 degree angle...

I also notice that I can see more of my hand if I drop my chin ever so slightly.

When I am in the slot I don't believe that the outside corner is further than that...But it's something I will be looking to test.

Aloha,
Mike
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Unread 09-03-2017, 04:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

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Originally Posted by mturman View Post
I also notice that I can see more of my hand if I drop my chin ever so slightly.
I think that's part of it as well, and maybe why a lot of you veterans and even pros don't use (because they do not need) a dangling throat protector (I need one). They "dip their chin" to get the mask's throat protector against their chest. But what they're also doing is getting their binocular vision pointed a bit down and straight at the strike zone. Even if we set up with our chin at the catcher's helmet, the strike zone is still below our eye level. Dipping the chin a bit gets the eyes looking straight at the money pit.

All I can say is that it works for me, and I plan to keep doing it. Your point about the inside ear being exposed is understandable, but I'm not turning my head that much--just a bit. Kind of like if you dip your chin a bit, you're not dipping it so far as to expose the top of your head. The thing I notice is that outside pitch is so much easier to see, and I'm also seeing it come off the bat much better. I think Bob has the perfect angle:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobjenkins View Post
That should be part of the standard training -- the nose should point at (about) where BU is in B, or F4. Then, shift the eyes only to see the pitcher and follow the pitch with your eyes. You will be looking straight ahead when the ball is at the plate.
I got this 1st from a veteran LL umpire who is also an accomplished h.s. softball umpire. He was coaching a rookie at our day-long District LL mechanics clinic, and I was eves dropping from the soft toss cage next door. Didn't think much of it till I later tried it in a game. Bam!!
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Unread 09-05-2017, 02:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

There are 2 reasons to slightly angle yourself with respect to the pitcher while positioned in the slot. One is actually protective. If you are slightly angled, a ball that hits you will be more likely to hit at an angle, thus mitigating the blow. Again, the angle isn't huge, maybe 10-15 degrees, so it's not going to expose you to being hit in an unprotected area.

The second reason is the one discussed above. The most important thing to see about a pitch is where it is when it comes past the batter, across the plate, and into the catcher's glove. This is when both eyes should be at their most relaxed. If you are angled, and drop your chin slightly to be looking directly through the zone with both eyes relaxed, you will get the best and easiest look at the pitch. The fact that you may have to strain a bit to see the release is inconsequential. The important part of the pitch should be where your eyes are most relaxed.

My organization has been teaching this for a long time, and it really does help.
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Unread 09-05-2017, 03:53 PM   #11
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

I tried this approach this weekend and observed that by angling your head 10-15 degrees as stated, you cannot see the release of the pitch with both eyes. The outside eye is not tracking the pitch until some point closer to the plate. Moreover, if the ball is way inside and nicks the batter, you can only see that with one eye as well.

Isn't it more reasonable to just keep both eyes on the ball and rotate the head ever so slightly to track it? It sounds like the real problem is that most umpires don't track the ball all the way to the mitt with both eyes. They "give up" on the pitch towards the end.
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Unread 09-05-2017, 04:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by typikon View Post
It sounds like the real problem is that most umpires don't track the ball all the way to the mitt with both eyes. They "give up" on the pitch towards the end.
YES!!!

I know this won't hit home for some...but as a creature committed to the mechanics...I am confident that in the decades of umpires working the dish, what is taught today is as solid as it will get. There will be those that always seek the new...as Solomon said, "there is nothing new under the sun..."

To each his own...do what you will...for me, Typ hit the nail on the head.

Aloha,
Mike
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Unread 09-06-2017, 07:15 AM   #13
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Default Re: Stereoscopic vision of the Strike Zone.

A few more thoughts then I'll button it.

(1) I didn't invent this. It is being taught, but clearly not universally.
(2) I don't turn so far that I'm not seeing release with both eyes, I'm just seeing it out of the leftish side of the wide horizontal mask slot.
(3) On inside pitches, my slightly increased head angle does not prevent me from seeing that pitch all the way in or touch the bat, hands, or batter with both eyes. I'm in the slot and still have great view and natural "relaxed" angle.
(4) I agree that tracking the ball with both eyes all the way to the mitt (or even as it passes by the mitt) is key to calling pitches. And that's actually precisely why I do it: to be able to see that outside pitch all the way in with both eyes, and have no part of the pitch blocked out of one of my eyes by the bridge of my nose.
(5) I think some instructors (and even some accomplished veterans here) indicate as an alternative (and for help particularly with outside pitches), it's now considered acceptable to let the head turn slightly as the pitch comes in. I've resisted that mechanic, because the drawback is having a slightly moving camera as the pitch crosses through the zone, and it's been forcefully drilled and ingrained in me to keep my head absolutely still and track the pitch all the way with just the eyes.
(6) Tracking, tracking, tracking. I just find this slight adjustment helps me track with more ease--or as Darren's might say, let's me track with more natural "relaxed" ease. My eyes are still moving as much, they're just not moving from the middle of my eye sockets to the far side. They're moving from the leftish side of my sockets across the middle to the rightish side of my eye sockets. If I have to turn my pupils all the way to the right of my sockets to see to my far right, that actually requires more effort.
(7) I can move my eyes slightly left and right all day with no strain. But try this: look straight, turn your eyes to the far right, and then do that 10 times rapidly. Feel any eye or eye muscle fatigue? I do. I can move my eyes repeatedly left and right without any noticeable fatigue or strain as long as I'm not stretching my eye muscles to the far side.
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