Reports

How baseball outfielders determine where to run to catch fly balls

Science  28 Apr 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5210, pp. 569-573
DOI: 10.1126/science.7725104

Abstract

Current theory proposes that baseball outfielders catch fly balls by selecting a running path to achieve optical acceleration cancellation of the ball. Yet people appear to lack the ability to discriminate accelerations accurately. This study supports the idea that outfielders convert the temporal problem to a spatial one by selecting a running path that maintains a linear optical trajectory (LOT) for the ball. The LOT model is a strategy of maintaining "control" over the relative direction of optical ball movement in a manner that is similar to simple predator tracking behavior.

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