USD Professor Hits a Home Run

USD Assistant Professor Nadav Goldschmied 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 homeruns 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. For a copy of the study, please email

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The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.