Presented by: ROBERT F. HENNING

Amateur Umpire

This topic is the most crucial aspect to an official developing consistency of the strike zone. By utilizing this technique, you will find that your vision of the pitch will improve throughout the zone. Your judgment of the pitch will be more accurate and the overall structure of your decision-making process will increase your ability to be more consistent. I really believe that this topic can and will make a difference in your game. The importance of it in your overall ball and strike consistency will vary between negligible and noticeable levels. After all, plate mechanics were designed to help improve our positioning and consistency. Hopefully, by taking the time to consider this topic, then incorporating it into your game, it will give you a greater sense of confidence, so that you will never have to second guess your strike zone again.

All of us have a dominant eye. That is to say one that is stronger because we use it more and one that is weaker because we use it less. According to Dr. Donna Mockler, who is working for many different professional and amateur sports organizations, people rely more on their dominant eye when they are under stress. When we observe a pitch we must be sure that we are seeing the ball equally with both eyes or are using our weak eye more. If we were to depend solely on our dominant eye to track a pitch from the pitcher's hip to the catcher's glove, we would lose depth perception as the ball gets closer to our eyes. This is why we must make sure that we can see the ball throughout the entire zone and watch the ball hit the catcher's glove with ‘both eyes’.

The beauty of this theory, accepted by many Ophthalmologists involved in sports medicine, is that by making sure we see the ball through the zone using these techniques, we ensure that we have a greater perception of what we see, which translates into better consistency. Often times, you've heard umpires mention that their consistency was not up to par during an at bat, an inning or perhaps even an entire game. I believe that those umpires, without really knowing it, were using their dominant eye more than using both of their eyes during those difficult times. This also explains why some umpires have more trouble with the consistency of calling the outside pitch or outside-low pitch. By the amount that your thumb moves by being only three feet from your eyes, imagine how much that ball is capable of moving when it is three feet away. After you test for your dominant eye, you may be very surprised at just how much movement takes place.

There are also some variations that occur with this theory that can give you a different look at the zone, depending on whether the batter is hitting from the right

or left side. If you are right-eye dominant, you will have the most trouble with the outside and/or low pitch when a right-hand batter is up. If you are left-eye dominant, you will have difficulty with the outside and/or low pitch when a left-hand batter is up.

Give this a hard look to see if it can improve your zone. Concentrate using your weak eye more by turning your head slightly so that you force yourself to use the weak eye more. The more you use your weak eye, the stronger it should become.

Eventually you will find that this 'MONOCULAR VISION THEORY' is adaptable. Many umpires have reported that this one topic has made a substantial difference in their consistency and is the one thing that had really improved their game. It could make an awesome difference in your game, and hopefully, make your officiating that much more enjoyable, successful, rewarding and fulfilling.


(Note: This test is best when verbally administered by a second person.)

1) Pick out a spot on a wall that is at least ten feet away.

2) Extend your arm away from you and point your thumb straight up.

3) Focus on the spot on the wall with both eyes open and while concentrating

on that spot, slowly align your thumb with your line of sight to the spot.

4) Now, while remembering to concentrate on the distant spot, close your left

eye. Is your thumb still on the spot? If the answer is yes, your dominant

eye is your right eye. If your thumb has moved away from the spot, then

your weak eye is the right eye.

5) And of course the reverse of the above is also true. Focus once again,

remembering to concentrate on the distant spot and close your right eye. Is

your thumb still on the spot? If you answer yes, your dominant eye is your

left eye. If your thumb has moved away from the spot then your weak eye is

your left eye.

6) Now, while still focusing on the spot, slowly blink your eyes one at a time.

This should clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of this test and theory.