We examined skill-based differences in the anticipation of ball direction during the catching of a grounder in baseball. In Experiment 1, we used film stimuli which included a sequence of pitching and hitting action from the shortstop's customary perspective, and participants judged the ball's direction (left or right). Also, we used white-circle stimuli, and participants reported whether the circle was displaced to the left or to the right. Baseball players responded faster than non-players in the film task, but there was no significant difference between the two groups in the white-circle task. In Experiment 2, we used film stimuli which were cut off at four different temporal occlusion periods to examine the time of extraction of important visual cues. Accuracy exceeded the chance level prior to the bat-ball contact in both groups, but was earlier for players than for non-players. Our results suggest that players may extract anticipatory visual cues more effectively and earlier than non-players.
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