Successful baseball hitting involves a combination of highly trained perceptual skills and forceful bat swing motions. The purpose of the present study was to quantify the horizontal movement of the head and eyes while baseball batters hit a fastball to clarify a visual strategy for this highly trained interceptive task. Six collegiate baseball players hit a fastball that was launched from a pitching machine. The ball speed was 31.9 ms-1 for the Slow Ball Task and 40.3 ms-1 for the Fast Ball Task. Horizontal head movements were analysed using images that were captured by two high-speed video cameras. The Horizontal eye movement was recorded with electrooculography. The angular speed of the horizontal head and eye movements during hitting were divided into four time periods (I-40 = 21–40% of total ball-flight, I-60 = 41–60% of total ball-flight, I-80 = 61–80% of total ball-flight, I-100 = 81–100% of total ball-flight) and analysed using analysis of variance and a Tukey post-hoc multiple-comparison. In the Slow Ball Task, the horizontal angular velocity of the head during I-80 was significantly faster than that during I-40 (p < 0.05). In the Fast Ball Task, the horizontal angular velocity of the head during I-80 was significantly faster than that during I-40 and I-60 (p < 0.05). These results indicated that the tracking motion of the head became faster as the launched ball came close to the batters, but there was no change in the angular tracking motion of the eyes. Therefore, rapid eye movement may not be suitable to accurately estimate the ball’s future location during fastball hitting based on the eye-centered coordinates. Our findings suggest that conventional vision training with a wide range of saccadic or smooth-pursuit eye movements does not reflect the characteristics of tracking strategies during baseball hitting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)