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Rongrong Chen, Leland S. Stone, Li Li; Visuomotor predictors of batting performance in baseball players. Journal of Vision 2021;21(3):3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.3.3.
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Hitting a baseball, one of the most difficult skills in all of sports, requires complex hand-eye coordination, but its link with basic visuomotor capabilities remains largely unknown. Here we examined basic visuomotor skills of baseball players and demographically matched nonathletes by measuring their ocular-tracking and manual-control performance. We further investigated how these two capabilities relate to batting performance in baseball players. Compared to nonathletes, baseball players showed better ocular-tracking and manual-control capabilities, which remain unchanged with increasing baseball experience. Both, however, become more correlated with batting accuracy with increasing experience. Ocular-tracking performance is predictive of batting skill, accounting for ≥ 70% of the variance in batting performance across players with ≥ 10 years of experience. A simple linear additive-noise cascade model with shared front-end visual noise that limits batting performance can explain many of our results. Our findings show that fundamental visuomotor capabilities can predict the complex, learned skill of baseball batting.
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