Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

To keep eye on ball, batters mostly use heads

Date:
January 7, 2014
Source:
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Summary:
Baseball players at bat follow coaches' advice to "keep your eye on the ball" —- but head movements play a surprisingly important role in tracking pitches, suggests a study.

Baseball players at bat follow coaches' advice to "keep your eye on the ball" -- but head movements play a surprisingly important role in tracking pitches, suggests a study in Optometry and Vision Science, official journal of the American Academy of Optometry. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

Related Articles


The findings lend new insights into how batters accomplish the complex task of tracking a pitched ball -- and might even lead to new strategies designed to improve their ability to see pitches, according to the study by Nicklaus F. Fogt, OD, PhD, FAAO, and Aaron B., Zimmerman, OD, MS, FAAO, of The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

Here Comes the Pitch -- Where Are the Batter's Eyes?

Drs Fogt and Zimmerman designed an experimental setup to monitor eye and head tracking movements in a group of 15 Division I collegiate baseball players. The players tracked, but did not swing at, a large number of balls pitched by a pneumatic pitching machine. Eye and head movements were synchronized with trajectory of the pitches.

"On average, eye gaze position matched the target position well throughout the trajectory," according to the researchers. But most of the time the ball was in the air, the players tracked it with their head -- they moved their eyes very little until late in the pitch trajectory.

The pitches took about 400 milliseconds (ie, four-tenths) of a second to complete their trajectory; the players did not move their eyes until between 340 and 380 milliseconds. Although head movements varied between players, they seemed to follow a common strategy of "neural coupling" between eye and head movements.

Experiments included a task in which players were to call out colors (red or black) and numbers written on the pitched balls. However, their performance in calling out the correct colors and numbers was not significantly better than chance. Surprisingly, the players' static visual acuity (as measured on an eye chart) averaged slightly less than normal.

Possible Implications for Vision Training in Baseball Players

The findings are consistent with a previous study of pitch tracking in a Major League Baseball player. But they contrast with studies of fielders, who primarily track fly balls to the point where it will land, but move both their eyes and head when attempting to catch the ball.

"Hitting a baseball is a remarkably difficult task," Drs Fogt and Zimmerman write. For a pitch traveling 90 miles per hour, the batter has only about one-fourth of a second to decide "when and at what location the ball will arrive and whether to swing the bat." The new study was designed to assess the eye and head movement strategies used in tracking pitched balls, and whether they were consistent between players.

In the new study, "Division I college baseline players applied a strategy in which the eye was moved very little with any correctional eye movements until late in the pitch trajectory while the head was aimed at the ball," according to the authors. They add, "It will be interesting in the future to compare tracking strategies to hitting success, and tracking strategies of elite players to those of novice players."

It's unknown whether vision training can lead to improved on-field performance -- although Drs Fogt and Zimmerman note that one collegiate baseball team reported a large increase in batting average after incorporating a vision training regimen into their practice. The researchers conclude, "By better identifying the physiologic capabilities and gaze behaviors of baseball players, it may become possible to develop more precise vision training strategies for players of all calibers."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nicklaus F. Fogt, Aaron B. Zimmerman. A Method to Monitor Eye and Head Tracking Movements in College Baseball Players. Optometry and Vision Science, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000148

Cite This Page:

Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "To keep eye on ball, batters mostly use heads." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107102431.htm>.
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2014, January 7). To keep eye on ball, batters mostly use heads. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107102431.htm
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "To keep eye on ball, batters mostly use heads." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107102431.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins