The influence of ball-swing on the timing and coordination of a natural interceptive task

V. Sarpeshkar, D.L. Mann, W. Spratford, B. Abernethy

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Successful interception relies on the use of perceptual information to accurately guide an efficient movement strategy that allows performers to be placed at the right place at the right time. Although previous studies have highlighted the differences in the timing and coordination of movement that underpin interceptive expertise, very little is known about how these movement patterns are adapted when intercepting targets that follow a curvilinear flight-path. The aim of this study was to examine how curvilinear ball-trajectories influence movement patterns when intercepting a fast-moving target. Movement timing and coordination was examined when four groups of cricket batters, who differed in their skill level and/or age, hit targets that followed straight or curvilinear flight-paths. The results revealed that when compared to hitting straight trials, (i) mixing straight with curvilinear trials altered movement coordination and when the ball was hit, (ii) curvilinear trajectories reduced interceptive performance and significantly delayed the timing of all kinematic moments, but there were (iii) larger decrease in performance when the ball swung away from (rather than in towards) the performer. Movement coordination differed between skill but not age groups, suggesting that skill-appropriate movement patterns that are apparent in adults may have fully emerged by late adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-100
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Movement Science
Early online date9 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Expertise
  • Interception
  • Kinematics
  • Sport
  • cricket
  • curvilinear


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