Our visual abilities profoundly impact performance on an enormous range of tasks. Numerous studies examine mechanisms that can improve vision . One limitation of published studies is that learning effects often fail to transfer beyond the trained task or to real world conditions. Here we report the results of a novel integrative perceptual learning program that combines multiple perceptual learning approaches: training with a diverse set of stimuli , optimized stimulus presentation , multisensory facilitation , and consistently reinforcing training stimuli , with the goal to generalize benefits to real world tasks. We applied this training program to the University of California Riverside (UCR) Baseball Team and assessed benefits using standard eye-charts and batting statistics. Trained players showed improved vision after training, had decreased strike-outs, and created more runs; and even accounting for maturational gains, these additional runs may have led to an additional four to five team wins. These results demonstrate real world transferable benefits of a vision-training program based on perceptual learning principles.
Baseball players must be able to see and react in an instant, yet it is hotly debated whether superior performance is associated with superior sensorimotor abilities. In this study, we compare sensorimotor abilities, measured through 8 psychomotor tasks comprising the Nike Sensory Station assessment battery, and game statistics in a sample of 252 professional baseball players to evaluate the links between sensorimotor skills and on-field performance. For this purpose, we develop a series of Bayesian hierarchical latent variable models enabling us to compare statistics across professional baseball leagues. Within this framework, we find that sensorimotor abilities are significant predictors of on-base percentage, walk rate and strikeout rate, accounting for age, position, and league. We find no such relationship for either slugging percentage or fielder-independent pitching. The pattern of results suggests performance contributions from both visual-sensory and visual-motor abilities and indicates that sensorimotor screenings may be useful for player scouting.
Baseball players, specifically pitchers, with symptomatic neurovascular occlusion often initially complain of arm fatigue, loss of ball control, and velocity. As the compression continues complaints may manifest into dull pain, paresthesia, and decreased grip strength.
We investigated the kinesthetic aftereffects of a weighted tool on interceptive performance. Eight college baseball players performed three warm-ups before the interceptive task: a normal warm-up, a recalibrated warm-up with a standard 850-g bat and a 1200-g weighted bat, and a weighted warm-up with a 1200-g bat. For the interceptive task, subjects were asked to swing the standard bat coincident with the arrival and position of a moving target. After the warm-ups with the weighted bat, participants felt that the bat was lighter and swung faster. When participants needed to correct their swings to the target’s velocity change, larger timing errors were produced in the weighted than in the normal practice condition. These results indicate that warm-ups with a weighted tool create adverse effects for the movement (re)programming processes in interceptive action. This suggests that warm-ups with a weighted tool for an interceptive task affect the central nervous system and not the peripheral system.
This study had two objectives: (a) revealing the difference in finger segments between the conventional and finger models during aimed throwing and (b) examining the central nervous system’s timing control between the wrist torque and finger torque. Participants were seven baseball players. Finger kinetics was calculated by an inverse dynamics method. In the conventional model, wrist flexion torque was smaller than that in the finger model because of the error in ball position approximation. The maximal correlation coefficient between the wrist torque and finger torque was high (r = .85 ± .10), and the time lag at maximal correlation coefficient was small (t = 0.36 ± 3.02 ms). The small timing delay between the wrist torque and finger torque greatly influenced ball trajectory. We conclude that, to stabilize release timing, the central nervous system synchronized the wrist torque and finger torque by feed-forward adjustments.
Three-dimensional kinematic data of bat and ball were recorded for 239 individual shots performed by twenty batsmen ranging from club to international standard. The impact location of the ball on the bat face was determined and assessed against the resultant instantaneous post-impact ball speed and measures of post-impact bat torsion and ball direction. Significant negative linear relationships were found between post-impact ball speed and the absolute distance of impact from the midline medio-laterally and sweetspot longitudinally. Significant cubic relationships were found between the distance of impact from the midline of the bat medio-laterally and both a measure of bat torsion and the post-impact ball direction. A “sweet region” on the bat face was identified whereby impacts within 2 cm of the sweetspot in the medio-lateral direction, and 4.5 cm in the longitudinal direction, caused reductions in ball speed of less than 6% from the optimal value, and deviations in ball direction of less than 10° from the intended target. This study provides a greater understanding of the margin for error afforded to batsmen, allowing researchers to assess shot success in more detail, and highlights the importance of players generating consistently central impact locations when hitting for optimal performance.
Baseball batters must react to pitches delivered to different locations within the strike zone by modulating their movements. In tee-batting practice, such batters place a ball on a tee stand at a location, where they intend to hit the ball, assuming a particular pitch’s trajectory. In the present study, we analysed three-dimensional movements in tee-batting to identify characteristics of the batters' intended impact locations across the strike zone, thereby investigating spatiotemporal features of movement modulation. More specifically, 10 experienced baseball batters performed tee-batting at their preferred impact locations at nine different heights and courses within the strike zone. The distribution of impact locations showed regularity, i.e., the location shifted forward for balls placed high and inside, while it shifted backward for balls placed low and outside. Furthermore, trunk and arm movements showed systematic modulation as the impact locations changed. The duration of bat movement was also location dependent, i.e., hitting the inside ball took more time than hitting the outside ball. Our results indicate that even though movements among body segments were properly coordinated to adjust the bat swing for different impact locations, fine timing adjustments were also required to hit the ball at those preferred impact locations and therefore properly react to differences in flight paths.
- Sports biomechanics / International Society of Biomechanics in Sports
- Published almost 2 years ago
Determining and understanding baseball batting mechanics at various competition levels may help players and coaches identify key kinematics crucial to being a successful hitter. The purpose of this study was to compare batting kinematics across competition levels. Kinematic and temporal data were analysed for 170 male batters (youth n = 33; high school n = 69; college n = 22; professional n = 46) using 3D motion capture (480 Hz). The results showed differences in angular positions between competition levels during the five phases of the swing, with the greatest differences seen between the youth and professional batters. At the instant of ball contact, professional batters held the bat farther away from their body, with greater back shoulder abduction (35°) and less back elbow flexion (78°) compared to youth (27° and 89°, respectively). These differences were associated with greater back elbow extension velocity for professionals (1539°/s) compared to youth (1174°/s). Additionally, higher level batters had higher bat angular and linear velocities compared to the youth batters. As batters progress through their career, they should focus on their back arm by keeping their elbow up and their arm extended in front of them.
In saccade sequences without visual feedback endpoint errors pose a problem for subsequent saccades. Accurate error compensation has previously been demonstrated in double step saccades (DSS) and is thought to rely on a copy of the saccade motor vector. However, these studies typically use fixed target vectors on each trial, calling into question the generalizability of the findings due to the high stimulus predictability. We present a random walk DSS paradigm (random target vector amplitudes and directions) to provide a more complete, realistic and generalizable description of error compensation in saccade sequences. We regressed the vector between the endpoint of the second saccade and the endpoint of a hypothetical second saccade that does not take first saccade error into account on the ideal compensation vector. This provides a direct and complete estimation of error compensation in DSS. We observed error compensation with varying stimulus displays that was comparable to previous findings. We also employed this paradigm to extend experiments that showed accurate compensation for systematic undershoots after specific-vector saccade adaptation. Utilizing the random walk paradigm for saccade adaptation by Rolfs et al. (2010) together with our random walk DSS paradigm we now also demonstrate transfer of adaptation from reactive to memory guided saccades for global saccade adaptation. We developed a new, generalizable DSS paradigm with unpredictable stimuli and successfully employed it to verify, replicate and extend previous findings, demonstrating that endpoint errors are compensated for saccades in all directions and variable amplitudes.
Left-handedness is known to provide an intrinsic and tactical advantage at top level in many sports involving interactive contests. Again, most of the renowned leaders of the world are known to have been left-handed. Leadership plays an important role in politics, sports and mentorship. In this paper we show that Cricket captains who bat left-handed have a strategic advantage over the right-handed captains in One Day International (ODI) and Test matches. The present study involving 46 left-handed captains and 148 right-handed captains in ODI matches, reveal a strong relation between leader’s laterality and team member performance, demonstrating the critical importance of left-handedness and successful leadership. The odds for superior batting performance in an ODI match under left-handed captains are 89% higher than the odds under right-handed captains. Our study shows that left-handed captains are more successful in extracting superior performance from the batsmen and bowlers in ODI and Test matches; perhaps indicating left-handed leaders are better motivators as leaders when compared to right-handed captains.