Vizual Edge’s composite Edge Score represents a snapshot of an athlete’s core-six visual skills. While it’s a nice benchmark number for athletes, parents, and coaches to track and improve with visual training exercises, the components that make up the Edge Score tell us a lot more about the strengths and weaknesses of a hitter’s vision. Here’s a quick overview of each of the core-six skills and how they relate to on-field performance in baseball or softball:
CONVERGENCE: this is one of the most important measurements in sports vision, and a trait we see strongly correlated to many baseball hitting metrics. Convergence measures how well an athlete keeps focus on objects at close range. On a baseball or softball field, we’d think of how well a hitter focuses on a ball for the last 15-20 of ball flight, or how an infielder would track the ball into their glove on a tricky hop.
DIVERGENCE: again, this is one of the more important metrics we see connect to on-field performance. Divergence measures how well an athlete focuses an object in the distance. You use divergence when you focus on the ball out of a pitcher’s hand, or when judging the trajectory and distance of a fly ball as an outfielder.
RECOGNITION: recognition skills allow an athlete to observe, process, and respond quickly to a visual target. A batter uses recognition to see the seams on a baseball and react to the pitch type in the batter’s box, while fielders with good recognition skills react with a quick first step to a batted ball in their direction.
TRACKING: this works hand in hand with recognition; players with good tracking skills are able to keep focused on an object while performing athletic moves with the rest of their bodies. Hitters with good tracking ability keep focused on the ball as they start their swing, while infielders can closely track a ball while sprinting and diving for it at the far end of their range.
ALIGNMENT: an athlete’s alignment allows him/her to focus on the ball at its actual location, and not perceive it as too close or too far away. Truthfully, we see very few high-level athletes that don’t have near-perfect (or perfect!) visual alignment.
DEPTH PERCEPTION: like alignment, high-end depth perception is a prerequisite to playing baseball or softball at a high level. Depth perception allows both eyes to work together to know the speed of the ball and where it is in space.
So, while seeing a strong Edge Score after taking one of our tests or on a player page from one of our partner organizations is indicative of strong visual skills, know that there are many granular components that go into the vision of an elite-level hitter. It should also be encouraging for you, as a hitter, to know that you can improve each one with practice.