Ncaa Baseball

My sons batting average has taken a dip. Can video games be to blame?

My son has always been a great baseball player. Recently, his average has suffered, and we have noticed a disproportionate amount of strike outs. Around the start of this "slump", I also noticed, he had been playing PS2 NCAA baseball almost non stop. Is it possible the swinging action of the video game has affected his timing or "trigger" mechanism at the plate in real life?? I thought I recall Tony Gwynn mentioning he wouldn't play video baseball during the season? Any educated opinions would be appreciated..

It can cause him to lose a little concentration in his peripheral vision. During video games his brain blocks out anything in his vision that is not coming from that direct area on the screen. This will cause a slower reaction to live action because hitting does have elements collected from peripheral as well as direct vision. Slower motor skills will cause him to be behind on pitches or having his hands lower than before looking for only low pitches (when you are having timing and vision problems low pitches are easier to see).

But since you mentioned Tony G, take a chapter from Charlie Lau and change his stance and timing.
Have him take a normal hard swing and mark where his front foot landed. Then move his front foot back 3 to 4 inches, don't let him talk you into anymore than that. Then take his stance to address the pitch with about 90% of his weight on his back leg. Don't let him move the front foot back before the swing. The idea is to take the step almost out of the swing, he will naturally take a small step (the 3 inches you took away). When he takes a swing, with no step, his head and shoulders should remaining in the hitting position throughout the swing and should not raise or lower. The small step he does take will naturally push his body and weight back into the power position behind the ball. By doing this he should pick up the ball faster (because his head doesn't move) and his hands will be quicker because he starts in the hitting zone. Even though at first he may like he is losing power he will actually become a more powerful and consistant hitter as long as he is put into the hitting zone.
There are several MLB players who use this method - some guy name Albert Pujols, for what ever that is worth... Even his wife has pointed out to him that when he starts to slump his stance narrows and his weight is too far forward.

But going back to the video games, if you do it right up to game time your brain is on overload and it will be difficult to focus on real life. Video happens at 30 to 36 frames per second and real life comes at you at 48. (think about those OmniMax theatre experiences that can actually make you motion sick watching them - it's because they use more frames per second to simulate real life vision input. And video games don't even use the same speed as a regular movie). In other words, you will be brain dead trying to operate at real speed. I wouldn't go out ban him forever or even from baseball season, but definitely not on the day of or before a game.

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