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Dees Postma, Frank Zaal; Towards Affordance-Based Control in Catching Fly Balls: The Affordance of Catchability. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):235. https://doi.org/10.1167/17.10.235.
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After a drive in baseball, it is crucial for the fielding team to get hold of the ball as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to make a direct catch. However, this might not always be possible. Some fly balls are simply uncatchable. In that case, it might be better to get the ball after the first bounce. The latter situation requires a fielder to employ different timing and coordination from the former, illustrating that perceived catchability could have an effect on locomotor control. Until now, the effects of (un)catchability on running to catch fly balls have received little attention. We aim to formulate an affordance-based control strategy that appreciates the influence of perceived catchability on locomotor control in catching fly balls. A first step in doing so is to identify the factors that cause some fly balls to be catchable and others to be uncatchable. In an experiment, 18 participants were required to intercept 44 fly balls. Some fly balls were catchable whereas others were not. Mixed Effects Regression was used to examine a number of factors possibly related to catchability. The analysis showed that the boundary between catchable and uncatchable fly balls is largely determined by the locomotor qualities of the individual, the distance to be covered and the time available to do so. The present contribution also studied participants' ability to judge catchability. The same participants were presented with another set of 44 fly balls for which they were to indicate whether these would be uncatchable. Importantly, they were allowed to start running before giving their judgment. Participants could judge catchability correctly. Interestingly, their judgments were predominantly given while they already had started running. These findings pave the way towards the formulation of an affordance-based control strategy for running to catch fly balls.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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