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Behavioral Learning and Improving Game Skills
by: Geoff Maaz

Welcome

Thank you for visiting my site. 

 First I would like to start off by acknowledging Prof. Finn for all of his assistance throughout the duration of this tedious senior thesis period.  Second I would like to thank my friends and family who have been extremely supportive and helpful during this stressful time.  Thirdly I would like to thanks all of the participants who took the time out of their busy schedueles to volunteer and participate in this experiment.  And Lastly I would like to thank all of my classmates in Exp. 2, Tracy, Lisa, Judy, Tara, and Jake for all their assistance and support throughout this semester.  Congratulations, we did guys!!

Abstract

 In this study an experiment has be run testing the skill of an athlete.  A skill in the game of baseball was tested through the use of a training exercise, which will be called the Skill Enhancement Technique (SET).  Participants will be randomly selected to be in the experiment.  They will be required to perform a physical activity in which they will be fielding ground balls while using the skill SET in hope of improving their fielding percentage throughout the testing and training exercises.  The prediction is to see if the skill enhancement technique (via use of a paddle for fielding ground balls) will help the experimental group in the design improve upon their fielding percentage over the course of four series of training exercises.  This will be in comparison to the control group, which will not be using the skill enhancement technique in the study.  Instead the control group will be using regulation baseball or softball gloves during the course of the experiment.   It will be up to the participants to make improvements in their fielding skills and to prove the hypothesis correct.  The more effort the participants place into this experiment, the more smoothly it will be run.  And the more accurately the results will be able to be measured.
 
 

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Introduction:
For the experiment, a unique and different field study will be conducted.    For over a century people have studied the game of baseball and the way it works.  How do players get a feel for the game?  Are the talents of these athletes strictly naturally given, or do they take years of training and exercise in order to cultivate the skill needed to perform the game at a high level of intensity?  These are just some of the questions baseball coaches, players, scouts, and analyzers of the game have been trying to discover.

Previous Research: 

 Over the past few decades, psychology has become a major tool for sports in general.  For example, always trying to look for new strategies to help improve their game that they bring to the table.  Many strategies, techniques, and new ideas have been tried, some have worked and some have failed.  But for the most part sports on any level, whether little league or professional, all have a certain degree of psychology involved within them. 

“The field of sports Psychology has experienced rapid growth in the last five years.  Elite and professional athletes use elements of sports psychology to improve their performance.  ProFormance provides sports psychology training programs for experienced practitioners.  These training sessions provide background strategies and tools for adding a sports psychological component to an established practice”(Professional Sports Psychology Group Process).
In the study a training exercise will be taught to the participants, from the game of baseball, in order to help them improve their skills at a fielding position.  But in this experiment we will be using a subject pool filled with people whom are not used to playing the sport to any major degree.  In other words these people are not players of the game at this juncture of their lives. 

Helps in Sports:

 Before moving onto discussing the major aspects of this field test we will be first looking at some other related psychological tools used to enhance performance in sports.  In the study different strategies people have tested to see if they help people improve their game skills in any way.  Exploring the different aspects of how psychology has been affecting sports in a positive manner over the course of its history helps us to truly understand the importance of the psychology of sports. 

Today we now have different strategies to help athletes develop and improve their game.  Tools such as visualization, this is seeing in one’s mind events and occurrences before they happen.  This could also include a mental run-through of how athletes will conduct themselves in a certain situation.  Another strategy is presence and awareness.  Where an athlete will focus on resting and getting the mind calmly adjusted to the goal at hand.  Not letting themselves be concerned over mistakes or misses.  Not over-practicing the day before an event, and trying to eliminate stressors that may impede performance (Performance & Sports Enhancement Corner). 

“Professional Sports Psychology Group is dedicated to reducing stresses of individual team members and improving collaboration and team success within professional sports organizations.  Through counseling and developing skills in areas such as anger management, performance enhancement, adaptability and teamwork, athletes are afforded a greater chance of success”(Professional Sports Psychology Group).

Throughout life, when playing sports, athletes have always been told to keep a cool head and not let the opposing players psych them out in any way, shape, or form.  Not to let anyone else get a psychological edge or advantage on them in any way.  Stressors such as fear and anxiety are normal healthy feelings that athletes need to have to a certain degree.  Without them they would be flat and lifeless (Performance & Sports Enhancement Corner).    Now this study will be taking that knowledge and using it to test one of the physical aspects of the game.  Setting up this study using a psychological design while testing physical ability and how it can be improved upon at the same time. 

Sports in Psychology

 Sports psychology first came into play when coaches and players wanted to test the mental as well as physical aspects of sports.  These players and coaches wanted to find out how the persons mental status affected people on and off the field of play.  After the 1970’s the use of psychology in competitive sports spread widely (Professional Sports Psychology Group Process).  The purposes of the application of psychology to sports are to secure the mental health of the participants, to improve sport performance, and to select, limit, and guide the influences on the participants.  The most common techniques of psychotherapy used include relaxation techniques, desensitization procedures, cognitive therapy, behavioral modifications, and group dynamics (Geron, 1983).  The mental health of those involved in sports is crucial, especially on the pro and amateur level. 

For Example, we have all seen Chuck Knoblocke lose control of his physical game, by throwing balls away from the first base bag and making so many throwing errors, because of his mental condition.  When the game itself gets into someone’s head and they feel that they cannot perform their task it can ruin a person’s career and their self-esteem.  Making the problem a lot more difficult to correct.  Now counseling is available for athletes to try to help avoid these types of problems.  Counseling services may include the areas of how to effectively deal with media and lifestyle management including family, marriage, child development, career, retirement, drug and alcohol abuse, and other personal issues (Professional Sports Psychology Group). 

 The pressures athletes receive from the fan base, media, and coaches are extremely intense.  This is obvious to see because of the strenuous training athletes put themselves through to be in the best shape they can be in order to perform at their highest level.  It is also shown in others ways such as in the wear and tear on their body’s that athletes undergo.   Athletes today need methods for relaxation and desensitization.  Other methods mentioned such as the cognitive therapy approach and the behavioral modification approach are huge helps in the field. 

Elements of mental skill and performance enhancement training include; the use of visualization for sport-specific skill enhancement, arousal control methods to maximize control over physiological reactions, attention/concentration exercises to maximize the athlete’s ability to focus, the use of various cognitive techniques to direct the athletes inner voices, the development of a “mental recovery device” to use under high stress situations, and a confidence-building program tailored to individual athlete’s styles (Professional Sports Psychology Group). 

 When an athlete becomes able to keep emotions and behaviors in check this is when he or she is at their most productive state.  Athletes call this being in the zone.  This is the place where they can block out all of the outside world and concentrate at their challenge at hand.  Helping them to mentally focus on one thing, and only having just the one task on their mind.  They are constantly trying to find new ways of helping them focus on one thing and blocking out what is around them.  Keeping a cool head is one of the most important aspects of sports.  It is right up there with confidence and natural given ability.  Many of the most gifted athletes of today do not even make it to the professional level because of their mental status.  The pressures become too much for them and they collapse because mentally they cannot cut it.  Physically they have all the skills needed to be a star, but emotionally and mentally the struggle is too much for them. 

 “The higher an athletes self-esteem, the closer they will perform to their skill level.  But athletes often follow paths of behavior that are self-destructive, without realizing the consequences.  For example, when athletes withhold their feelings, it is often a form of lying that demeans them, creating psychological baggage that affects their ability to focus and process data.  In many instances this shows up in explosive and misdirected anger (on and off the field) and mental errors during competition.  But once an athlete’s issues (personal, team-related, coach-related) are dealt with in a positive manner and brought to completion, their life will be more in harmony and it is only then that visualization techniques will be effective.  This process is called Psycho-Self Imagery” (Mind Over Sports). 

In the experiment the mental status and concentration of the participants must be zoned in when they are taking the fielding tests.  Reaching the zone means the participants must be totally focused in on the task at hand.  If not the point and purpose of the experimental design will be a flop.  Just proving in sports mentality is the most important thing that needs to be prevalent in an athletes mind. 
 Earlier studies have been done to test the research in the field of sports psychology.  And this particular one represents examples from three areas; structural types of motor skills, training method, and modeling of sports activity.  It was argued that the significance of psychology will grow from basic research and simulation of man as an automatic system; discovery of the regulating laws of his activity should be the focus of this research (Rokusfalvy, 1977).  Here we were looking into experimental tests designed to recognize and discover the strengths and weaknesses of the human motor skills, how people train for their sports interests, and ways of modeling their sports activity. 

 This can help my study in certain ways as well.  Knowing the abilities and disabilities of a person is key in testing the athletic prowess of a person.  Understanding the limitations of a person and knowing their weaknesses will help me to not expect too much or too little from the participants.  Having an understanding of motor skills will help me to have patience with the learning process of the experiment and know that practice does not make perfect.  But it does make strong and healthy improvements. 

 Another study conducted set out to discover and or identify some of the various problems in sports psychology (Vanek, 1981).  Such problems currently being looked into on things such as motivation, the relationships of activity and personality, the determination of volitional effort by emotional categories, and social conditions of activity for individual and group achievement (Vanek, 1981).  These are major problems in the study of sports psychology.  Most people know that when people are not motivated that it brings down their interest in whatever it is that they may be doing.  The moral of the participants will be a big deal for the designer of the experiment during the testing.  If the subjects do not want to be there participating, then the results can often times be skewed.  That is why in the experimental design an attempt will be made to choose from a subject pool of healthy males and females between the ages of 18-24. 

 The study will hopefully be made into an interesting design where the participants will want to be there, not only helping me out, but becoming better at a hands on physical skill.  As well as helping us to better understand the psychology of sports.  It is very important to rule out and try to get rid of as many confounding variables as possible.  So when it is time to total up the results they will be as accurate as possible.  We want the participants in both groups to encourage the rest of their group members to do well and succeed.  Positive reinforcement and energy is very uplifting for groups when they are trying to learn or improve on a new task.  The subjects will be polled to make sure they have an interest in the challenge they will be presented with for the experimental design.  Those asked to perform the task whom are uninterested will be replaced with someone who is willing to put fourth the effort in the experiment.  This will also help out so that the results will not be skewed or confounded.

 Other baseball studies have been tried and tested for the soul fact of improving a team’s skills (Frozen Ropes Training Tips).  This includes tips on how to build a stronger team.  Strategies talking about limiting practice times as not to over practice and burn out the players.  Tools such as respecting the game, its rules, and the field it is played on.  Have one person stay after for one on one workouts after each practice session.  Being sure to allow time for proper warm-ups and stretching.  This also includes other things such as players knowing their situations.  It must be a natural reaction for a player to go to the right place during the right time, the scenarios of the game.  Who needs to back up what positions and which base the ball needs to be thrown to when it is hit to them.  Which base the ball needs to go to depending on whether or not there are men on base or depending on how many outs there are when the situation occurs.  All these are simple defensive mental parts of the game, which do not show up on the stat sheets after the games.  The same applies for the offensive part of the game.  The mental aspects of the game which are never written down are as equally, if not more important than the physical aspects of it.  The participants are going to have to work hard in order to improve.  And the control group in the experiment will also have to work hard at their task so the results will be totaled fairly. 

Recent Information: 

 The next important part of psychological sports research is the coaching aspects of the game.  Good coaches get into their players heads. They lead and guide them in a positive manner (Psychological Activity).  They train them mentally and physically so they will be prepared to make the pressure plays in big situations.  And so they will also have mental ability to stay focused and make the routine plays when the intensity level in the game is at a down point (Psychological Activity).  If players do not receive good encouragement and credit for what they are doing they become disinterested.  And that is when mistakes are made. 

Good coaches know how to strategize and know where to put players so they will have the highest level of success.  They know who to play and when to play who, so the best results will happen for the team.  Coaching involves mentality as well.  It is a constant chess match between opposing coaches on predicting how the other will make their next move, or how they plan to attack the next situation during the game.

 More studies have also been done testing and helping to unlock the undiscovered powers of one’s mind and gain a competitive edge.  The techniques used include voluntary relaxation, visualization, and attitude enhancement (Sports Psychology, mental training for every player).  In my study visualization will be key.  The participants need to focus their eyes on the task at hand by not being distracted by the outside world around them.  Performing the one task is what they are asked to do.  Concentrating and having solid hand-eye coordination is going to play a large factor as to whether or not the participants will improve with help of the fielding enhancement technique design. 

 Other tests of sports psychology help to teach athletes to accept failure.  No one is perfect.  And no matter how good someone is there is always someone out there who is better, bigger, faster, and stronger.  Learning to deal with failures is a huge part of sports.  Baseball is no different.  It is a game of failures and successes.  “If one cannot learn to conquer and accept their defeats, they will never be able to go anywhere in the life of sports” (Aronson, Baseball in Psychology).  In the study I am conducting I will need the participants to be able to keep their heads up even if they do not succeed.  If they make a mistake with a ground ball, just to shake it off and attack and field the next one that will be coming at them.  Pouting and feeling bad for yourself does not get a person anywhere in sports.  Accepting failure and putting your mind to successfully completing the next task is such an important aspect of the game.  If a person focuses on their failures it will be in the back of their mind during the next plays to come.  And when this occurs people become tentative and more errors are sure to be made. 

 Athletes on every level are expected to set goals for themselves.  Even in the experiment being run, all the participants will be expected to set goals for themselves.  Goals should be set.  They should not be set too high or too low.  They need to be high enough in order to challenge the person.  And not too low, because the person will not be challenged enough.  If the participants do not actively want to improve then my results will be skewed and that would not fair well for myself. 

 As mentioned briefly before the visualization aspect of the game is a very crucial part.  When scouts are looking for players they look for people who have a feel for the game.  Hitters who know how to pick up spins on the ball and can adjust to its flight, and still be able to hit the ball hard in some direction.  Other studies have had people perform visual tests to improve eyesight and train players on what to look for.  Helping them learn to pick up rotations so they can make better contact or to help them recognize the spins in flight to help determine where the ball will land after it is hit (Vision Training for Athletes).  Learning how to play the rolls and bounces in the field and being able to determine if a ball in motion will stay fair or go foul (Vision Training for Athletes).  The participants in the study will be hit grounders, and hopefully they will learn to pick up spins on the ball and the different ways for which it bounces on the field.  My goal is that they will improve their hand-eye coordination as well as their fielding ability.  Vision training for athletes has now been compared to and viewed as being just as helpful as weight training (Vision Training for Athletes). 

 Eye tracking is the ability to accurately follow the path of a moving object a long period of time.  In all sports, being able to follow the path of the ball is the most important skill.  Eye focusing is the alignment and function of the two eyes.  In sports, you must be able to focus instantly on the ball near and far, quickly and accurately (Sports Vision and Baseball).  In this study focus on eye positioning and will help to determine the flight path of a ball.  Depth perception is the ability to judge distance or how close or far something is from you.  In baseball it is the ability to judge a high fly ball or throw accurately to a base.  Hand-eye coordination is the ability to make the hand do what the mind and eyes see (Sports Vision and Baseball).  Here another example is explained on how depth perception and hand-eye coordination play key roles.  In my experiment the participants will have to judge the balls being hit to them.  They will be challenged to make these types of decisions in the heat of the moment. 

 A final note needed to be said about infielders.  The participants in the study will be fielding ground balls so it is crucial they have some idea about how to act and react like an infielder would.  The participants will need to be sure they are never caught standing still.  They need to always be prepared for the next ball coming at them.  They will need to anticipate and do their best to settle the ground in front of them being sure that any holes will not misdirect the ball’s path.  They will have to be ready by standing on the balls of their feet as well as be moving forward at the time when the play begins or ground ball is hit (Eteamz, Making a Baseball Infielder).  Finally, the participants will need to be able to focus on their fielding mechanics when taking the ground balls (Baseball: Effective Fielding Mechanics).  The participants will have prior notice as to what they will be doing.  So hopefully this will motivate them to do some research, or be prepared and know something about fielding mechanics and the proper way to take ground balls. 

 Lastly, we will be moving away from previous research on sports, baseball, and how psychology is involved in all of its aspects.  Also included are the ways in which all these prior studies have significant relevance and involvement in what my experiment will be entailing.  I suppose it is time to present you with my theory on how this experiment will be conducted.  What you don’t know is how the participants are going to be used.  In the study sixteen to twenty participants will be split up into two groups of eight or ten.  One control group and one experimental group of subjects will be used.  The control group will be receiving a glove to field the ground balls that will be hit to them. 

 The experimental group will be given a flat paddle that will be able to be attached to their hand from the back of the paddle.  They will be hit ground balls from the same distance and of equal power as the control group.  Each member of each group will receive ten groundballs each.  At the end of the training exercises, which only the control group’s stats will be recorded and scored in as part of the results, the participants will then all be given a glove to take ground balls with.  Then testing will be recorded on both groups. 
The only reason the control group’s stats will be recorded the first two series of training is because they are being tested to see if their fielding percentage improves over the span of practice time.  Both groups will be hit grounders from the same distance and at the same level of power that the ball is struck on all series of trainings.  Besides the first series of grounders the third series will be the only other one in which all the participants and groups will be graded or judged. 

 The point of the study is to see if the training exercise with the paddle, that the experimental group took grounders with, will help to improve their fielding percentage once they are given gloves to use.  This is in comparison to the control group, which used gloves for all series of training.  The main focus being observed is to see whether or not the training with the paddles will help to improve the fielding percentage of grounders for the experimental group in comparison to the control group.

Hypothesis: 
   The hypothesis is the group who uses the paddles during the field training and then uses regular gloves on the final series of official testing, will improve their fielding percentage of ground balls.  In comparison to the control group, who used gloves during the prior series of training, and on the final series of the official testing.  So in a nut shell that is the hypothesis and back-up information to go along with it.  Hopefully the combination of prior research studies and information, and personal experienced knowledge of the game of baseball, will produce an interesting and insightful experiment where something new can be learned. 
 
 

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Methods
Participants:

In this study a 16 to 20 person subject pool of participants will be needed for the experiment.  An experimental group and a control group will be used.  The participants in this study will not be current baseball or softball players.  The reason for this is because if actual players were used in the experiment the results may be skewed or thrown off.  So no current players will be used in the experiment.

Materials:

For the experiment a gym will be needed.  A person to hit the ground balls will be needed.  8 or 10 participants will be used.  Regular hard baseballs will be used.  Baseball or softball gloves will be required.  As well as a paddle with a hand strap on the back of the paddle will be needed to perform the experiment. 
 
 

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Procedure
Male subjects will be used in order to conduct the experiment.  The 16 to 20 participants will be split up into two groups.  A control and experimental group will be used.  There will be 4 series of exercises in which all participants will receive 10 ground balls within each series.  For the pre and post assessment series of ground balls the participants will be hit grounders off of a bat by a person who is unaware of which groups the participants are in.  This is done in order to avoid discrimination between the two groups.  For the 2nd and 3rd series, (the 2 training series), the ground balls will be thrown across the ground to the participants by another person.  This is done in order to protect the participants during the training exercises. 

Only the pre and post assessment series of ground balls are hit live off of a bat.  Both groups will be required to perform all aspects of each series.  Both groups will be given the same amount of chances to field groundballs.  However, the experimental group of participants will be using a paddle during the 2nd and 3rd series of training.  And the control group will continue to use regular standard baseball or softball gloves during the 2nd and 3rd series of trainings. 

For the 2nd and 3rd series of ground balls regular hard baseballs will be used for both groups.  Regular hard baseballs will be used for the pre-measure and post-assessment (this would be the 1st and 4th series of ground balls).  The participants will be thrown regular hard baseballs in the 2nd and 3rd series of ground balls.  For the 1st and 4th series (pre-measure and post-assessment) of ground balls were the participants percentages will be recorded as data, a person, whom is unaware of which group the participants are in, will be hitting the ground balls to the participants. 

The person hitting the ground balls will be trying to the best of their ability to maintain a balance of speed and location where the participants will be fielding the ground balls.  The purpose of this is to try and isolate the experimental group using the skill enhancement technique (via the paddle) in order to manipulate them, and help them improve their fielding percentage over the series of testing exercises. 

 On the post-assessment series of training exercises both groups will then be using regular standard baseball or softball gloves in taking their final series of ground balls.  From the final results this will be able to determine if the fielding enhancement technique, use of the paddles by the experimental group, will help to improve their fielding percentage in comparison to the control group.  The control groups fielding percentage is expected to remain the same or slightly higher in comparison to the first series of ground ball they will be taking.  The results for the 2nd and 3rd series of testing will not be recorded and saved as data for either group.  These two series of training will simply be used for practice and helping to improve upon the two groups and participants fielding percentage from the 1st series (pre-measure) of ground balls they will be taking.  The pre-measure of ground balls will be recorded as data so it can be compared to the post-assessment, which will also be recorded as data, of ground balls in looking for improvements in fielding percentage within and between the two groups. 
 
 

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Results
No significance was found in the results after the paired samples correlational test on the statistics had been conducted.  Also, no credible amount of significance was found anywhere throughout the results.  In the end it was discovered that there was no difference between the pre-assessment and post-assessment sections of testing.  A 2-tailed Pearson Correlation was run on the two sections (pre-assessment and post-assessment) and they both came out on the .755 level. 

A paired samples t-test was also conducted on the pre-assessment and post-assessment sections of testing.  Here the data revealed that mean score of the two sections was on the -.0813 level and the standard deviation of the two sections came out to be on the .14705 level.  A t-test was run on the pre-assessment section compared to those in the experiment who were going to be using a glove or a paddle in the testing. 

The mean score in the pre-assessment for those would be glove users in the experiment was on the .7125 level and for those would be paddle users it was on the .75 level.  The standard deviation in the pre-assessment section for those who were going to be using a glove was at the .15526 level and for those who were going to be using a paddle it was at the .28785 level. 

A t-test was also run on the post-assessment section compared to those in the experiment who used a glove or a paddle in the testing.  The mean score in the post-assessment section for those who used a glove was at the .7750 level and for those who used a paddle it was at the .8500 level.  The standard deviation in the post-assessment section for those who used a glove was at the .16690 level and for those who used a paddle it was at the .17728 level.  No difference was found between the glove and the paddle sections of testing. 

A paired samples 2 by 2 way analysis of the pre and post assessment sections and glove and paddle sections could not be run on the results because the sample size of the participants was to small.  This means not enough people participated in the study in order for the 2 by 2 way to be conducted.  However, there was a sign correlation that did appear between the pre and post assessment sections.  In the paired samples 2-tailed t-test significance was found on the .043 level.  This tells us if the participant did well in the pre-assessment section of testing, they would also do well in the post-assessment section of testing as well. 

Lastly, out of the 16 participants only 2 of the participants had a decrease in their score throughout the duration of the experiment.  This includes the pre-assessment, two practice trial series, through the post-assessment.  And of the two participants whose scores did decrease, their scores only decreased by a small margin of -.10.  All fourteen of the other participants either improved their score or remained stable throughout the duration of the experiment.
 
 

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Discussion
Overall I feel the study went smoothly and was a success.  The participants in the study were consistent in their scores between the pre and post assessment sections of testing.  However, they did not make the degree or level of improvement in their scores that I was looking for.  The participants were very helpful and they all appeared to have taken the study very seriously judging by the way they all approached the tasks presented to them in the experiment.  However, there were some restrictions to the study that very well may have helped to improve upon its finding. 

Firstly, a larger amount of data would have been able to be collected if more people had been recruited to participate in the study.  Also the results would possibly have been broader if participants had been selected from a wider range of gender and ethnicity.  Instead of simply having 16 white males between the ages of 18-24.  It would have allowed for a better more broad range of data if females had participated place in the study, if the age range was spread out by at least another ten to twelve years in each direction, and if people of a different race or cultural background had participated in the study. 

The study also may have been improved upon if a machine instead of a human was used to hit the groundballs to the participants.  A machine would have guaranteed the consistence, speed, and location of where the ball was going to travel.  However, if a machine was used it would not have given been as realistic as it was with the human hitting the groundballs.  Having the grounders hit live off of the bat created sense of realism and did not allow the participants to make exact conclusions and predict where the ball was going to be hit.  If they had been able to predict on how the ball would be coming at them and where it was going this may very well have skewed the results and defeated the purpose of the experiment. 

Another way that may have helped to improve the study would have been repeated trials over time.  If the participants would have been able to be tested over a period of a couple weeks or months using the same strategies more improvements in the scores may have been found.  Everyone has good and bad days where they will be able to perform better on certain days than on others.  So the longevity of the study may be something to look into more thoroughly down the road. 

One final improvement they could have been maid is the possibility of more trials for each section of the testing.  This would happen by increasing the number of groundballs taken by each participate.  For example, having the participants take 50 groundballs in each section of the testing, instead of only 10.  This may have helped because it would allow the participants more opportunities at success or failure.  Plus the more chances someone receives the greater chance they will have at improving their score.

The results did relate to the purpose of the study.  Overall the participants remained consistent across the board in their scores.  Only two of the participants scores decreased from the time they took the pre-assessment, the two practice sections, and the finally the post-assessment.  And both of the two participants whose scores decreased only decreased a small margin of 10%.  All fourteen of the other participant’s scores either remained the same or were improved upon from the pre-assessment section through post-assessment section of the testing.  This was shown to be true from the data because it revealed that most of the participants remained consistent throughout the entirety of the experiment. 

In the study it was apparent that the more athletic the person was, the better chance they had of improving their score throughout the experiment.  Based on my personal observation it definitely appeared that it was harder for the participants who were not as athletic to improve their score.  Also, for those who were not as athletic, it was harder for them to improve upon their agility (smoothness, soft hands with the glove, and fluency of the body in motion).  So those in the study who had some kind of athletic edge were definitely at an advantage while participating in this study. 

T-tests were used to analyze and correlate the data.  However, it was difficult to do this because of the small number of subject participating in the experiment.  The only other way possible to improve upon this would have been to increase the subject pool in order to get a wider range of data so other statistical tests could have been run.  I feel the experiment was a success despite the fact no significance between the data was discovered. I say this because new ways of possibly conducting, improving upon, and running this experiment in the future were discovered and observed.  Maybe someday, later on more studies, experiments, and discoveries will be run and found to help athletes improve upon and enhance their skills. 
 
 

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References
 

Rokusfalvy, Pal, “Studia Psychologia: Certain Problems of Experimental Basic Research in Sports Psychology”.  Vol. 17(2), 1975. Pg 162-167. 1977-07322-001.

Vanek, M.  “Current Problems in Psychology of Sports”.  Vol. 21(5), 1977. Pg 411-415. 1981-04464-001.

Geron, Emma. “International Journal of Sports Psychology”.  Vol. 14(2), 1983.  Pg 123-131.

Computer and Internet sources:

Frozen Ropes Training Tips:  Practice Organizational   Guidelines. http://www.frozenropes.com/tips/

Psychological Activity:  The Intended Use of the Sport Psychology Consultation System. http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/dept/coachsci/vol33/rushall4.htm
Sports Psychology:  Mental Training for Every Player.   http://www.drrelax.com/baseball.htm 

Aronson, Elliot.  “Baseball and Psychology”.   http://faculty.ed.umuc.edu/~mofsowit/aronson.html

Visual Fitness Institute:  Testing Training and Improving Athletes’ Visual Skill Level Through the Use of the Most Technologically Advanced Training Techniques and  Equipment.  http://www.visualfitness.com/programs.html

Vision Training for Athletes:  Is it Weight Training for the Eyes.? http://news-info.gatech.edu/news_releases/visiontraining.html 

Sports Vision and Baseball: As We Approach the 21st Century.   http://www.3and2.com/vision/articles/sportingeye.htm

ETeamz: Baseball Infield Making an Infielder http://eteamz.com/baseball/instruction/tips/tip. fm/13/

Baseball:  Effective Fielding Mechanics.  http://howtoplay.com/baseball/fielding.html

Mind Over Sports: http://www.exrx.net/Store/Other/MindOverSports.html

Professional Sports Psychology Group:   http://www.performanceinc.com/pspg_services.html

Performance & Sports Enhancement Corner: http://lifefirst.com/cor_PerfSports.asp

Professional Sports Psychology Group Process: http://www.proformance-inc.com/training.html
 
 

Relevant Links

 
Journal of Sports Psychology
anselm.edu
Yahoo.com
mlb.com
Google.com
excite.com
APA