Use of Pitcher Game Footage to Measure Visual Anticipation and Its Relationship to Baseball Batting Statistics

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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Professional baseball batters’ (N = 105) visual anticipation of pitch type and location were measured using a video-based temporal occlusion test and correlated with their baseball batting statistics. Participants watched in-game footage of skilled baseball pitchers that was temporally occluded at the point of ball release, and at 80 ms and 200 ms after ball release. Participants made written predictions of pitch type and location. Results indicated there was a significant positive correlation between anticipation of combined pitch type and location 80 ms after ball release with slugging percentage (r = .21). There was a significant negative correlation between anticipation of pitch type alone 200 ms after ball release and strikeouts (r = −.28), indicating higher prediction is associated with fewer incorrect swing choices. Furthermore, there was a significant positive correlation between anticipation of pitch type alone 200 ms after ball release and on-base percentage (r = .23) as well as walk-to-strikeout ratio (r = .25). These small relationships are consistent to the batting statistics we predicted and can be due to the range of competitive levels in the leagues the participants had played. The findings further theoretical and applied knowledge of the role visual anticipation contributes to baseball batting game performance. The findings also suggest that game footage can be used to assess and potentially to train visual anticipation skill, which is highly valuable for athletes and high performance support staff in sporting organizations.

Müller and Morris-Binelli are with the School of Psychology and Exercise Science, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia. Fadde is with the Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL.

Address author correspondence to Sean Müller at S.Muller@murdoch.edu.au.
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