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Description: What do sports psychologists do? The fields of sports psychology has grown dramatically in recent years. The realization that Psychology can contribute a lot to our understanding of human performance and motivation is at the core of this growth and the expansion continues. For example, you have, perhaps heard about the field of baseball analytics? Baseball analytics uses large datasets to guide owners and managers in their choices of players and short- and long-term team strategies such as the value in choosing a less exciting player who get to first base more often over a more glamorous homerun hitter. But that is all actuarial data; what about psychology (getting into players brains), what might that involve? Think about possibilities and then have a look through the article linked below to see how the neuropsychology of baseball players might be the next new frontier in baseball analytics. Oh and while you are doing that keep track of what you still want to know more about beyond what is discussed in the article.

Source: IWU Professor Studies Data, Psychology Link in Baseball, Eric Stock, WGLT.ORG, NPR from Illinois State University.

Date: February 12, 2020

Photo Credit:  Keith Johnston from Pixabay

Article Link:

So does the idea that we might be able to identify ways to optimize players performance profiles by keeping an eye on their brain functioning make sense? The notion of load management such as was practiced by the Toronto Raptors coach, Nick Nurse, last year with his then top player Kawhi Leonard was  mainly focused on his physical wellbeing but conceptually it would seem possible to track other markers relating to focus and stress and expand the notion of rest to apply to those areas as well. What I wanted to know more about at the end of the article linked above was just what the researcher (baseball brain analyst) was proposing to look at and to track and what he was hoping to sort out in the way of “rest.”

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What might it mean to expand the field of Baseball Analytics to include more Psychology and especially more Neuropsychology?
  2. What might one look at if you were interested in monitoring a baseball players mental focus?
  3. What might be some of the advantages and disadvantages of expanding Baseball Analytics in the ways suggested in the linked article?

References (Read Further):

Rees, L. P., Rakes, T. R., & Deane, J. K. (2015). Using analytics to challenge conventional baseball wisdom. Journal of Service Science (JSS), 8(1), 11-20.

Koseler, K., & Stephan, M. (2017). Machine learning applications in baseball: A systematic literature review. Applied Artificial Intelligence, 31(9-10), 745-763.

Fry, M. J., & Ohlmann, J. W. (2012). Introduction to the special issue on analytics in sports, part I: General sports applications.

Swartz, T. B. (2017). Hockey Analytics. Wiley StatsRef: Statistics Reference Online.

Bornn, L., Cervone, D., & Fernandez, J. (2018). Soccer analytics: Unravelling the complexity of “the beautiful game”. Significance, 15(3), 26-29.,5&scillfp=6010092713439709609&oi=lle

Castaneda, B., & Gray, R. (2007). Effects of focus of attention on baseball batting performance in players of differing skill levels. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 29(1), 60-77.

Bickman, L. (2012). Why can’t mental health services be more like modern baseball?. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 39(1-2), 1-2.