University of San Diego Assistant Professor Nadav Goldschmied (pictured, left) and fellow researchers have found that Major League Baseball players experience a bit of stage fright on the eve of reaching a major milestone.
Goldschmied and fellow researchers studied 24 players who hit at least 505 home runs during times in which they were to reach a major batting milestone. Using Drive Theory as a basis for their study, researchers found that it took batters significantly more time at bat when on the precipice of reaching a milestone.
The researchers explained, “Altogether, the difference between performance of the baseball players before and after career home run milestones is consistent with the hypothesis that there is an association between the type of task undertaken and the assumed stress.”
During a time in history when much scrutiny is paid to player performance and performance enhancement drugs (PED), Goldschmied explains that the research indicates, “players who reached the milestone in the last 15 years do not show the same pattern of deterioration in performance prior to their crowning achievement as players who played the game before them. We suspect that PED use may provide a physiological or psychological buffer from the detrimental effects of stress.”
The study appears in this month’s Perception and Motor Skills journal.
– Melissa Wagoner