Enhanced Sensorimotor Kinematics of the Baseball Swing in Elite Batters During a Known Pitch Type
The interceptive task of hitting a baseball requires temporal and spatial precision through effective pitch tracking strategies and swing mechanics to achieve success. Overall, these factors dictate the quality of the contact and therefore successful performance of the task. The permitted response time for a batter to visually react and analyze the trajectory of the ball, produce the movement of the swing, and create quality contact is a fraction of a second. In this study, temporal analysis and the measurement of sensorimotor factors indicative of skill was completed in different pitch conditions to understand the changes that occur as a result of whether the pitch type is known. Additionally, correlations between sensory and motor kinematics of the baseball swing were examined. Sixteen participants were divided in to two subgroups based on their highest level of baseball experience. The sub-elite group consisted of individuals whose highest level of playing experience was at the high school varsity level, while the elite group included collegiate players up to the NCAA Division I level. Utilizing live pitching in an indoor batting facility, a 12-camera motion capture system, and eye tracking glasses, each subject completed 20 totals trials across a known fastball, known curveball, and unknown mixed conditions. For the fastball trials only, pelvis rotation and angular velocities along with the load phase, load-release difference, land phase, launch phase, and swing duration were measured and represent the motor variables while head and eye rotation and average angular velocity represent the sensory variables measured. Results demonstrated significant differences in head rotation, average head angular velocity, pelvis rotation, and load-release difference between the known and unknown conditions, significant differences in the load phase, land phase, and total swing durations, as well as the load-release difference between elite and sub-elite batters, along with a significant interaction between skill level and pelvis rotation for pitch condition (p < 0.05). Additionally, relationships were found between eye and head rotation with pelvis and swing phase kinematics for both the elite and sub-elite groups (p < 0.05). Overall, understanding the kinematic differences between pitch conditions and skill level can lead to more effective training strategies to enhance performance.
Silberg, Ryan. (December 2019). Enhanced Sensorimotor Kinematics of the Baseball Swing in Elite Batters During a Known Pitch Type (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/7640.)
Silberg, Ryan. Enhanced Sensorimotor Kinematics of the Baseball Swing in Elite Batters During a Known Pitch Type. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, December 2019. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/7640. July 12, 2020.
Silberg, Ryan, “Enhanced Sensorimotor Kinematics of the Baseball Swing in Elite Batters During a Known Pitch Type” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, December 2019).
Silberg, Ryan. Enhanced Sensorimotor Kinematics of the Baseball Swing in Elite Batters During a Known Pitch Type [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; December 2019.
East Carolina University