It has been shown recently that stroboscopic visual training can improve visual-perceptual abilities, such as central field motion sensitivity and anticipatory timing. Such training should also improve a sports skill that relies on these perceptual abilities, namely ball catching. Thirty athletes (12 women, 18 men; M age = 22.5 yr., SD = 4.7) were assigned to one of two types of stroboscopic training groups: a variable strobe rate (VSR) group for which the off-time of the glasses was systematically increased (as in previous research) and a constant strobe rate group (CSR) for which the glasses were always set at the shortest off-time. Training involved simple, tennis ball-catching drills (9 × 20 min.) occurring over a 6-wk. period. In pre-and post-training, the participants completed a one-handed ball-catching task and the Useful Field of View (UFOV) and the Motion in Depth Sensitivity (MIDS) tests. Since the CSR condition used in the present study has been shown to have no effect on catching performance, it was predicted that the VSR group would show significantly greater improvement pre-post-training. There were no significant differences between the CSR and VSR on any of the tests. However, changes in catching performance (total balls caught) pre-post-training were significantly correlated with changes in scores for the UFOV single-task and MIDS tests. That is, regardless of group, participants whose perceptual-cognitive performance improved in the post-test were significantly more likely to improve their catching performance. This suggests that the perceptual changes observed in previous stroboscopic training studies may be linked to changes in sports skill performance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Sensory Systems