Pitch Recognition is not a new concept, but its’ finally getting the attention it deserves. Hitters need pitch recognition. Fortunately, pitch recognition is a skill you can develop.
So how do you develop pitch recognition? You’ve got to see 1000s of pitches. Technology like GameSense and Virtual Reality (VR) provide the ability to see more pitches. But VR doesn’t really train pitch recognition and could have negative effects on a hitter.
Some evidence on VR points to the dangers of training in a virtual environment. That’s because VR is not precise. Performing sport relevant actions (e.g. swinging a bat trying to hit a virtual ball) reinforces virtual, not real world perceptions. VR doesn’t represent accurate kinetic movements of real life opponents, negating key perceptual cues (e.g. a pitcher throwing a curve ball looks different than a fastball but VR pitches all look the same).
GameSense uses video-occlusion to test and train pitch recognition. Video occlusion was developed in sports science labs over 40 years ago and is still the gold standard for testing the perceptual cognitive skills of experts.
VR gives users the illusion of depth perception or 3D vision. However, depth perception has it’s limits. One limitation is our inability to detect depth perception for objects greater than 20ft (6 m) away from us. But pitch recognition happens when the ball is still more than 30ft (9 m) away from home plate. So a batter has no 3D cues when having to guess the pitch type, location and velocity.
Nothing beats a real pitcher, throwing real pitches. GameSense looks real because it is. You can see the grip, the arm angle. You can even see a grimace on the pitcher’s face. You need Photo Realistic images because pitchers are giving clues that a computer avatar does not provide.
VR requires head mounted displays units that are clunky, expensive, limiting and even cause sickness. GameSense can be done on a phone, tablet or computer. You can even project it on to a TV or wall to create a life-size image.
Simple, Safe & Sound
Virtual Reality is cool. And it seems like it should work. But looks can be deceiving. VR is good for seeing the shapes of pitches. It doesn’t help with pitch recognition because the graphics are not realistic enough and don’t represent the perceptual cues given by a pitcher. Further, 3D images don’t apply to pitch recognition because it’s too far away. A batter has to make their initial swing decisions using only 2D cues.
Bottom line…Video-Occlusion and VR are different tools.
But only Video-Occlusion is Simple…Safe…and Scientifically Sound.