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The Cognitive Psychology of Baseball

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The Cognitive Psychology of Baseball

Postby bigh0rt » Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:46 pm

If you’ve watched many baseball games or baseball movies, you know that one of the things that makes for a successful hitter is the ability to predict what the next pitch will be. Is it going to be inside or outside? Will it be a fastball or a breaking ball? If you’re expecting a fastball and get a slow, breaking curveball, it’s unlikely you’ll get anywhere near it. So cognitive processing is an important part of being a good hitter. At least, that’s what a hitting coach would tell you. And according to a 2002 paper by Rob Gray in Psychological Science, they’d be right.

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Re: The Cognitive Psychology of Baseball

Postby dclark0699 » Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:49 pm

bigh0rt wrote:If you’ve watched many baseball games or baseball movies, you know that one of the things that makes for a successful hitter is the ability to predict what the next pitch will be. Is it going to be inside or outside? Will it be a fastball or a breaking ball? If you’re expecting a fastball and get a slow, breaking curveball, it’s unlikely you’ll get anywhere near it. So cognitive processing is an important part of being a good hitter. At least, that’s what a hitting coach would tell you. And according to a 2002 paper by Rob Gray in Psychological Science, they’d be right.

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The paper was a little to scientific for me to follow. But trying to predict what pitch is coming next is also how you take a fastball right down the middle for strike three.

I would think no evidence to really support, that some hitters are guess hitters and some are not. A lot of successful hitting has to do with how quickly you can determine what the itch is by its spin.

In my playing days I was never one to try to predict the next pitch...I was usually a far better hitter trying to read the ball. Even when I stole the coach's signs to the catche and KNEW what pitch was coming, I was actually worse.....though I think I'd be in the minority in that.
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Re: The Cognitive Psychology of Baseball

Postby acsguitar » Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:57 pm

I tend to try to Zone up the ball and refuse to swing otherwise unless I have 2 strikes. Therefore I work the count while waiting for my pitch.

With 2 Strikes I choke up get closer to the plate and start reading the pitch.

1st pitch swings for me are usually my hardest swings and also the pitch I miss the most. This is when I tell myself, "I'm looking fastball if it is in my zone then I'm swinging as if it was a fastball" If its not a fastball strike 1. If its not in my Zone I just take it.

I love playing baseball

Last week I had my first 3 hit game in a long time. And spent 9 innings catching

Anyways guess hitting works just as well as reading a pitch IMO
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Re: The Cognitive Psychology of Baseball

Postby IllinoisBandit » Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:05 pm

Ted Williams was a guesser.

I think that's the danger of pitching in the major leagues. If a good hitter is looking for a curveball or changeup specifically and it's over the plate they usually hit it a mile (a changeup is really like a BP fastball if you know it's coming). But if they're looking for a fastball those pitches are 95% effective.
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Re: The Cognitive Psychology of Baseball

Postby J35J » Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:14 pm

I think most good hitters are see the ball hit the ball. Sure there are some that are guess hitters but I'd think they are the minority. If alot of good hitters are guess hitters you would see them get fooled fairly often when they are wrong but the best hitters you hardly see get fooled.....at least not as often as lesser hitters.

I'm a see the ball hit the ball type of hitter. I usually just sit fastball and wait and take the ball opposite field if its offspeed. I will occasionally guess curveball when I'm down in the count if I have a good idea what the pitcher likes to do but generally I dial up for the fastball and slap the ball opposite field if its offspeed.

Billy Butler has said numerous times already in the interviews I've seen that he just goes up there and doesn't think about anything and just "sees the ball, if its in his zone, he swings at the ball". I think those hitters who try to make it simple, less thinking, are the more successful hitters! Of course there are always exceptions though.

**This is all just my opinion.
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Re: The Cognitive Psychology of Baseball

Postby orange12 » Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:50 pm

Love this article. ;-D

Its very interesting that, in pitcher counts, speed plays a small role yet in hitter counts, guessing the correct speed makes a huge difference. This makes me wonder, if fast pitches are truly associated with hitter counts, and it looks like hitters guess them pretty well anyways, would it be more beneficial to throw slower in hitter counts?

All in all, this experiment uses a very primitive model for a pitcher vs. batter scenario. Simply randomizing pitch location takes away a huge chunk of strategy that goes into the cat and mouse game. In fact, I think pitch location, more so than speed, is what a hitter would try to predict.
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Re: The Cognitive Psychology of Baseball

Postby buffalobillsrul2002 » Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:01 am

Well, the reason that most hitters guess fastball 2-0, and especially 3-0 or 3-1, is that pitchers generally locate their fastballs much better than any of their other pitchers. If they threw a curveball, a lot fo times it would be a walk (especially with bad pitchers). Therefore, the pitcher feels his only option is to throw a fastball that catches a good amount of the plate. Same thing often goes for first-pitch fastball guessers.
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Re: The Cognitive Psychology of Baseball

Postby Tommy John » Tue Jul 03, 2007 3:57 am

Think Fastball, React to the Offspeed
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