Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blind Guy Hitting: Check it Out!!!

What is that old adage; seeing is believing, right? How many times has that been said over the years? I had always believed these old words until I saw firsthand the exception to the rule. For years, one Omaha man has been breaking every logical rule that common sense puts forth.

Mark Wetzel has been legally blind for a long time. He has almost no straight forward vision. Instead, he relies on his peripheral sight to help him navigate the world. With all these obstacles, someone would wonder how Wetzel has become one of the Midwest’s best hitting instructors. How on earth could this happen?

Tucked away in the hills of North Omaha, Wetzel hitting facility is definitely off the beaten path. Driving up the quarter mile path, hitters find posted messages sticking out of the ground on motivation, work ethic, and concentration. With two batting cages confined in an aluminum shed, Wetzel works his magic almost seven days a week.

Players are not just local; they come from all over the Midwest to seek his advice. Also, they vary in age from youth to professional. No kidding!! On some nights, it is likely to find a seven year old waiting for a lesson while a college player is getting instruction. The dynamics are crazy, but the message is clear: hitting is all about fundamentals.

Wetzel, who quit baseball as a teen once his sight started to go, was motivated to learn about hitting when his son started playing little league baseball. With bad vision, Wetzel would almost press his face against the television to view hitting tapes by all the professional instructors. From there, Wetzel would take the information and apply it to his son’s swing.

His son’s ability to hit improved rapidly. Soon, other parents began to notice how Wetzel’s son had progressed. Gradually, other players migrated to Wetzel’s house to learn new batting tips. By the season’s end, Wetzel’s team was setting league batting records at the delight of their parents.

That was just the start. In the following years, Wetzel’s business took off. Players from around the Midwest would drive in to seek Wetzel’s advice. Tony Gwynn, one of the game’s best hitters ever, has sought out Wetzel for swing guidance and instruction. Furthermore, Wetzel has served a variety of college and professional teams as a consultant.

On his website www.blindguyhitting.com, Wetzel’s most famous students are listed. Several have gotten chances to play professionally with one actually making it to the Major Leagues! Wetzel’s story is certainly amazing and shows that nothing can get in the way of someone who is determined to achieve a specific goal.

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