Baseball Magazine

Which Eye is Dominant?

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

Which eye is dominant?

Which of your eyes is dominant?

When you watch MLB games on TV, you probably will notice that it's not uncommon for many of the hitters to have somewhat of an open stance in the batter's box.  Of course, some are more pronounced than others.  Young hitters are rarely taught to have an open stance so why is it that so many good hitters like Evan Longoria, Chipper Jones, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Curtis Granderson, and many others start with an open stance?  If you asked them all individually, many would probably just say that it "feels right."  With so much of hitting being a matter of "comfort" and "feel,"  it wouldn't surprise many to hear this simple answer.
That being said, there is an explanation that sometimes surfaces as to why it "feels" better and it has to do with the difference between a hitter's left and right eyes.  As far as I know, every person has an eye that is dominant over the other.  To find out which one is dominant, try one or both of these experiments:
  • Extend an arm out in front of you and make a circle with your thumb and index finger like you're giving an "ok" signal to someone.  Look through the circle and focus on an object in the distance.  Now close your left eye.  If the object stayed in the circle, your right eye is dominant.  If the object is no longer in the circle after closing your left eye, then your left eye is dominant.
  • Check to see which eye you would use if you were to look through the lens of a camera.  The eye you use is your dominant eye.

Why is identifying your dominant eye important?  Because sometimes your dominant eye is not your lead eye when hitting.  A right handed batter whose dominant eye is his right one might have a tougher time seeing the ball all because of his nose.  Be a right handed hitter for a second.  Pretend you're in a batting stance and look out at the pitcher.  Close your left eye.  You probably see a good portion of your nose in your field of vision.  Now open your left eye and close your right.  You now have a clear view of the pitcher without your nose being in the way.  Of course, the same principle applies to left handed hitters.  

Which eye is dominant?

Boston's Carl Crawford with his very open stance.

If a right handed hitter's dominant eye is his left one, the nose isn't as much of a problem because his left eye will get an unobstructed view of everything in front of him.  However, if his dominant eye is his right one, that eye is partially blocked by his nose.  To combat this, a hitter has two options.  1) turn your head more so that both eyes are squared up to the pitcher, or 2) open up your stance a little bit to give that back, dominant eye a better view of the pitcher.  If a batter's feet are aligned or slightly closed in his stance, turning the head more can be a bit uncomfortable.  That is why so many major league hitters take the second option.  It just feels more comfortable.
It's important to note that opening up a stance can lead to some problems of its own so don't think that it will be a cure all.  Every hitter is different.  Opening up a stance may be just the thing for some hitters and create major problems for others.  Give it a shot though and see how it feels, especially if your dominant eye is not your lead eye in your stance.  

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