Anecdotal evidence from players and coaches indicates that cognitive processing (e.g., expectations about the upcoming pitch) plays an important role in successful baseball batting, yet this aspect of hitting has not been investigated in detail. The present study provides experimental evidence that prior expectations significantly influence the timing of a baseball swing. A two-state Markov model was used to predict the effects of pitch sequence and pitch count on batting performance. The model is a hitting strategy of switching between expectancy states using a simple set of transition rules. In a simulated batting experiment, the model provided a good fit to the hitting performance of 6 experienced college baseball players, and the estimated model parameters were highly correlated with playing level.
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