Comparing cueing and constraints interventions for increasing launch angle in baseball batting.

What is the most effective coaching intervention for assisting a skilled athlete in modifying their technique? The present study directly compared 2 types of attentional cueing (internal focus [IF] and external focus [EF]) with a constraints-led approach (CLA) manipulation for teaching experienced batters to increase their launch angle in a baseball batting virtual environment. CLA training involved adding the constraint of a barrier that must be hit over and adjusting barrier distance and height based on performance. Following 6 weeks of training, the CLA group had significantly higher launch angle, higher exit velocity, more fly balls, and more home runs as compared with the other two groups. These variables were also significantly greater for the EF group than the IF group. For both the CLA and EF groups, there was a significant quadratic trend in the bat path angle variability across training blocks, whereas there was no significant change in this variable for the IF group. The CLA is more effective for changing the technique of a skilled athlete than attentional cueing alone because it promotes a greater degree of exploration of the perceptual-motor space. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)