Editor/Collegiate Baseball

ORLANDO, Fla. - Collegiate Baseball takes its third annual look at new gadgets, gizmos and unique products that were introduced at the recent American Baseball Coaches Association convention in Orlando, Fla.

The following reviews were compiled after consultation between yours truly and noted pitching expert John Pinkman, columnist for Collegiate Baseball and owner of Pinkman Pitching.

There were 260 exhibitors who showed a wide variety of creative products.

Without further adieu, here is a rundown on six of the more intriguing products that were shown.

John Pinkman, columnist for Collegiate Baseball and one of the top pitching coaches in the nation, feels this product is extremely important to baseball players.

"This product brings a tremendous amount of high technology at an affordable price to players and teams with vision training and evaluating vision skills," said Pinkman.

"I have always thought vision training was vastly underestimated in the world of pitching. This can help in that area as well as all other areas of baseball. Hitting coaches spend tremendous amounts of time on the swing but pretty much ignore the role vision plays in hitting. This product can alleviate that problem as well."

Pinkman said once the CD is in the computer, it prompts users to follow a logical path through vision exercises.

"Some include three dimensional skills with colored glasses. The quickness of eye skills can be evaluated as you train. I am a big fan of Dr. Barry Seiller who helped design this program."

It is interesting to note that Dr. Seiller has worked with Georgia Tech's baseball program, the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians as well as other baseball programs.

With the Milwaukee Brewers Fall Developmental Camp last September, 56 athletes underwent eyesight and visual skills testing.

Seven needed vision correction for the first time (contact lenses), four needed improvement in contact lens power, 24 percent were found to have good visual skills, 51 percent were found to have average visual skills and 25 percent were found to have reduced visual skills.

Review: The Vizual Edge Performance Trainer™ contains a series of exercises which measure visual skills and offer training recommendations.

After creating a baseline score, visual skills are tested, trained and perfected, improving hand-eye-body coordination.

VFI has trained thousands of athletes over the past 10 years, and has collaborated with the Vizual Edge Corporation to produce this training product.

Like weight training for the eyes, Vizual Edge Performance Trainer™ builds both strength and endurance through regular use. It can be used effectively both on- and off-season, and in the privacy of an athlete's home or training facility. While these skills are interrelated, the product tries to separate each one.

The following exercises test your visual skills:

  • Vizual Alignment™
  • Depth Perception
  • The following exercises test and train your skills:

  • Vizual Flexibility™
  • Vizual Recognition™
  • Vizual Tracking™
  • As you train your eyes, the program records the results. And as your skills improve, you can modify the product for further training.

    The Performance Trainer comes complete with the VizEdge String™. It is a 10-foot string with three different color beads placed in strategic areas.

    Athletes use the string as the point of focus to diverge and converge their eyes. Through regular use, their eye muscles strengthen, allowing for quicker and more accurate focus. Ultimately such training will result in improved play.

    Vizual Edge Performance Trainer™ comes in a kit which includes the CD, the VizEdge String™, and red/blue training glasses.

    Minimum system requirement for the Vizual Edge Performance Trainer™ is at least a Pentium 3 600Mhz (or equivalent) with at least 64 MB of memory, running either Windows 98 or Windows Millennium (ME). Not compatible with Macintosh.

    If you are color blind, you may not be able to utilize portions of Vizual Edge Performance Trainer™.

    Reprinted by permission of the author.