I would like to thank Coach Gurney and the entire coaching staff at Rising Star Baseball Camp for allowing me the opportunity to work with them and their players this summer. I've known camp founder Darren Gurney since we were teammates in the late 1990s. Coach Gurney has gone on to build an impressive coaching resume that includes coaching several future major league players, winning the Section 1 (NY) Coach of the Year award, establishing two successful high school programs in Westchester County, NY, running a successful baseball camp for nearly 20 years, and authoring a growing list of baseball coaching books and instructional DVDs.
The initial plan was for me to visit the camp once each week to work with players for one hour. After an initial meeting with Coach Gurney and his staff, we decided to expand the scope of my work to include two hours each day, for the duration of camp (five weeks).
My work was primarily done with junior high school and high school players. We worked on a variety of visual skills, including tracking, recognition, reaction time, eye-hand coordination, and peripheral vision. Many campers reported an improvement in their ability to see and track pitches during at-bats. All campers came away with a better understanding of the visual skills involved in athletic performance, especially for hitting a baseball.
Several campers were given a recommendation to see an eye doctor to determine if they needed to use prescription lenses. Other players just needed some encouragement to wear their prescription lenses on the baseball field.
Here is what Coach Gurney had to say about the experience:
"As a sports vision training coach at our baseball camp, John Fitzgerald enhanced our players' awareness of the importance of vision, pitch recognition skills, and overall reaction time to baseballs in flight. His professional approach and extensive knowledge of vision within a baseball framework impressed everyone at the camp. By forging a relationship with such a passionate expert in his field, we have successfully ratcheted up the quality of work that we do with players from various ages and ability levels."
Darren Gurney, Rising Star Baseball Camp (NY)