This paper presents a novel design of visual state estimation for an image-based tracking control system to estimate system state during visual tracking control process. The advantage of this design is that it can estimate the target status and target image velocity without using the knowledge of target's 3D motion-model information. This advantage is helpful for real-time visual tracking controller design. In order to increase the robustness against random observation noise, a neural network based self-tuning algorithm is proposed using echo state network (ESN) technique. The visual state estimator is designed by combining a Kalman filter with the ESN-based self-tuning algorithm. The performance of this estimator design has been evaluated using computer simulation. Several interesting experiments on a mobile robot validate the proposed algorithms.