Research demonstrates the importance of perceptual-cognitive skills, such as pattern matching, anticipation, and decision making in numerous sports, including badminton, baseball, basketball, handball, rugby, soccer, squash, tennis, and volleyball. While other factors may be important (e.g., visual search patterns), the accuracy and/or speed with which athletes anticipate their opponent's intentions and/or decide on an appropriate course of action, as assessed on representative tasks have been shown to be the best predictors of skilled performance in the field. Moreover, several studies indicate that these skills can be improved and transfer to the field. Although there is a growing body of research demonstrating the trainability of perceptual-cognitive skills in sport and their transfer to the field, few researchers have attempted to translate this research into accessible and useful training tools for everyday coaches and athletes. In this research we evaluate one such tool in an applied setting. We review the experience of baseball players who were given access to a video-scenario-based training technology designed to improve pitch recognition and pitch location assessment training. Batting statistics are compared between the 2012 season when this training was not available to athletes, to the 2013 season when the Axon training was made available. The results suggest that the athletes during 2013 performed better than during 2012, likely a result of their use of cognitive training and enhanced skill to ‘read’ the pitcher's action.
Belling, P. K., & Ward, P. (2015). Time to Start Training: A Review of Cognitive Research in Sport and Bridging the Gap from Academia to the Field. Procedia Manufacturing, 3, 1219-1224. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.promfg.2015.07.202