McKnight's Insights:

Traits of Elite Athletes

May 13, 2021

Growth mindset is a popular term right now. Originally an academic topic from Stanford professor and psychologist Carol Dweck to describe individuals who believe his/her talents can develop through focus, planning and hard work, it’s now been adopted by schools, sports teams, and the population at large for self-improvement. Its influence is everywhere, and it's benefited everyone that is subscribed to it.

What I quickly realized after reading up on growth mindset, though, was it was far from novel. In fact, I realized it was the exact trait I had observed in many of the best baseball players I’d encountered in my time as a player, scout, and front office employee with the Chicago Cubs.

The best players actively sought ways to improve ALL OF THE TIME. Though they might scoff at feedback initially, they were experts at internalizing any shortcomings in their games and then planning out ways to improve through a mix of endless practice and hard work. Some players were maniacal in seeking out ways to squeeze out every possible opportunity to get better: having mastered their mechanics and skills, they could still see ways to improve by re-thinking through their recovery, their eating, and their weight training. It was really a marvel to observe the lengths these athletes would go to try to gain any small edge over their opponents as they sought to lengthen their careers and stay at the top of their profession.

Along those lines of thought, modern hitters have never had it tougher: pitchers’ repertoires are otherworldly, with harder-than-ever fastballs and breaking balls perfected in a lab. Batting averages are at a historic low and strikeouts are at an all-time high. Though hitters are stronger, quicker, and are hitting the ball harder than ever, their efforts in training and approach are still falling short of catching up to the gains pitchers have made.

This is where we have seen many high-end athletes have succeeded in turning to Vizual Edge: after athletes have explored all they can mechanically, the best way to combat pitchers is by identifying pitches sooner and tracking them better. Good and bad swing decisions that hitters make are separated by micro-seconds, and our training program is designed to help make those decisions clearer and quicker. Identifying the slider upon release means squaring the ball up for a double in the gap; identifying the slider 3 feet out of a pitcher’s hand means swinging and missing entirely!

But it does not just have to be high-end athletes that benefit from vision training; whether it is a softball player hoping to make her varsity team, a pickleball player wanting to get better at returning an opponent’s serve, or a volleyball player wanting to get better at digging. Anyone with a growth mindset can use Vizual Edge to improve their performance.

If you are doing all you can in your physical training and still not getting the results you desire, consider vision training. You might find out there is an underlying visual deficiency in your core-six visual skills that are holding you back that can be improved with a visual training program.

- Lukas

Follow Lukas on Twitter @LMcK_Baseball
Follow Vizual Edge on Twitter @VizualEdge

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