Capacity limits of tracking multiple moving objects in elite baseball and softball players

Introduction: Playing a ball sport always involves tracking multiple moving targets. Baseball and softball players have to track the moving balls, the running teammates and opponents at the same time in order to have a best defense. An exceptional baseball or softball player might have a better performance of attentively tracking multiple moving targets than non-athletes. The purpose of the study was to examine this hypothesis. Method: Forty-nine male baseball, 25 female softball players, and 39 non-athletes (20 females and 19 males) were recruited in this study. The tracking performance for all participants were measured with the typical Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) Task (Pylyshyn & Storm, 1988). In this task, participants were asked to attentively track specific targets wandering around the computer monitor among some distractors for a few seconds, and they reported those targets in the end of trial. The study manipulated the object moving speeds for the Experiment 1 and manipulated the number of tracked targets for the Experiment 2 to measure the capacity limits of attentive tracking for athletes and non-athletes. Results: No matter how fast the targets moved in the Experiment 1 or how many targets were tracked in the Experiment 2, baseball players significantly performed better than non-athletes, and the tracking performance of softball players was non-significantly worse than baseball players and better than non-athletes. The capacity limits of attentive tracking were calculated with the speed limit for the Experiment 1 and the number limits for the Experiment 2. Baseball players performed significantly higher speed limits and larger number limits than non-athletes. This study suggested baseball players having significantly larger capacity limits of attentively tracking than non-athletes.
© Copyright 2016 21th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Vienna, 6. -9. July 2016. Published by University of Vienna. All rights reserved.

Subjects: baseball softball perception sports equipment movement performance
Notations: sport games
Published in: 21th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Vienna, 6. -9. July 2016
Editors: A. Baca, B. Wessner, R. Diketmüller, H. Tschan, M. Hofmann, P. Kornfeind, E. Tsolakidis
Published: Wien University of Vienna 2016
Pages: 66
Document types: congress proceedings
Language: English
Level: advanced