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Reaction Time Comparisons for the Baseball Hitter: How to Implement the Science to Practice

Baseball is hard. There’s no other way around it. It takes patience, precision, and power.

As we get closer to the competitive season, we should have our practices further challenge the player to meet those demands.

Here is some simple math we can perform to create reaction times


Convert miles per hour to feet per second

  • 90 miles/ hour (5280 feet in one mile / 3,600 seconds in one hour)
    • 132 feet per second
    • 60.5 feet for the mound
    • 60.5/132 = 0.458 seconds to react
  • 85 miles/hour (5280 feet in one mile / 3,600 seconds in one hour)
    • 124.67 feet per second
    • 60.5 feet for the mound
    • 60.5/124.67 = 0.485 seconds to react

NOW, let’s think about release and contact points…

  • the pitcher usually releases the ball 5 feet in front of the rubber
    • now the distance goes from 60.5 feet to 55.5 feet
  • the hitter can contact the ball 2 feet in front of the plate
    • NOW the distance goes from 55.5 feet to 53.5 feet

To make successful contact…

  • For a 90 mph fastball, the time to cross home plate is 132 feet per second
    • New distance of 55.5 feet
    • 55.5/132 = 0.42 seconds to react successfully
  • For a 85 mph fastball, the time to cross home plate is 124.67 feet per second
    • New distance of 55.5 feet
    • 55.5/124.67 = 0.445 seconds to react successfully
Driveline Baseball – Reaction Time and Distances

Here’s a good template I found from Driveline Baseball on how we can simulate multiple situations in practice using simply reaction times and speeds at which we should throw.

Time to grab a radar gun and get to some testing!


Now, how can we improve reaction time and our hand-eye coordination?

Here are some clips on drills that I use

Reacting to a laser pointer

Using broken mini bands for a “Go” or “No-Go” response

Card throwing reaction to get the eyes moving (Russ Taveras, Infiniti Performance)

Eyes-Down Toss with a tennis ball

I would try and perform any sort of visual-reactive drill every day of the week to get your eyes stronger. To progress these drills, you can either throw the implement a little faster or get the “catcher” to get closer to the “thrower”

For more drills on visual-reactive training, click here for my article on EliteBaseballPerformance.com

Always reacting,

Jarad Vollkommer, CSCS

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