Georgia Grieve’s MSc Thesis Proposal

Title: Developing perceptual skills for pitch recognition in baseball

Supervisor: Dr  Nicola Hodges
Committee members: Dr Miriam Spering, Dr Romeo Chua, Dr Sean Muller

Abstract: There has been an increasing interest in training perceptual skills in sports, particularly in baseball (e.g., baseball pitch recognition). However, there is little empirical evidence to guide the application of training methods, especially with respect to questions such as when training should begin and what perceptual-cognitive abilities are expected (without specific training), based on age and experience. As such, I propose to investigate the development of perceptual skills in baseball based on chronological age, skill level and training history. I aim to evaluate pitch-type prediction accuracy in youth baseball players, to determine cross sectional differences in prediction accuracy related to age, how practice experiences modify differences, and how baseball specific prediction skills differ in relation to other visual perceptual skills. I will use an online experimental platform to collect data on baseball specific predictions concerning pitch type and location as well as dynamic visual acuity in youth baseball players (age 13 -17 yr). The information gained from this investigation potentially stands to guide the use of video-based perceptual training in youth baseball by establishing when we begin to see players recognise cues in a pitcher’s action to guide their response selections. I hope to establish a baseline for future longitudinal work, studying how perceptual skills change over time when baseball-related experiences can be measured concurrently with perceptual cognitive skills.