STUDY: Playing Video Games Can Make You Better at Baseball | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

STUDY: Playing Video Games Can Make You Better at Baseball

February 19, 2014

Must See Baseball Videos

Mom may not buy this when you tell her, but it's true: new research out of the University of California, Riverside, suggests that playing a certain video game can help you see better and even make you a better baseball player.

"The key is that [the game] improves how the brain processes the information that it receives from the eye and in turn leads to better vision," says Aaron Seitz, one of the researchers. "Baseball is a highly visual sport, where players need to make split-second decisions based upon very little visual information. Even a small improvement in vision can give a player a needed competitive edge."

In the study, published in the journal Current Biology, researchers compared two groups of UC Riverside baseball players—19 who played vision-training video games on a computer or iPad (the "Trained" group), and 18 who undertook no supplementary training (the "Untrained" group). Both groups had their eyesight tested before and after the experiment.

Tests prior to the computer game intervention showed no major differences in the eyesight of the Trained and Untrained players. After two months of training, however, major differences were apparent—most notably, the Trained group notched a 31 percent improvement in their visual acuity. Some players' eyesight improved to 20/7.5, meaning they could see things 20 feet away with the same clarity that an average person could see at seven and a half feet.

After the intervention, the Trained players reported “seeing the ball much better,” having “greater peripheral vision" and feeling like it was “easy to see further." They also said their “eyes feel stronger, they don’t get tired as much."  Their play on the field also improved.

Of the 19 players involved in the original test, 11 played on the team the next season. Those players reduced their year-over-year strikeout percentage from 22.1 percent to 17.7 percent of their plate appearances, a much larger reduction than the average for the rest of the league (16 percent to 15.4 percent). The 11 Trained players also improved in the category of Runs Created (RC), defined as a “statistic that includes key components of both on-base and slugging percentage as a measure of overall batting performance." The Trained players increased their RC per out from .140 to .188, compared to the league average for improvement of .140 to .151.

The improvement in RC correlated to approximately 42 more runs scored for the season. Applying Bill James’s “Pythagorean Theory Of Baseball” to estimate the number of wins and losses that resulted from the team's increased RC, the researchers came up with 21.2 wins and 32.8 losses—very close to the team’s actual record of 22 wins and 32 losses in the 2012 season.

Had the players not completed the computer screen intervention, their RC would probably have been closer to the league average of .151. Using the same model, researchers estimated that, without the training, the team would have netted approximately five fewer wins during the season.

"The exciting thing is that this type of training has potential to help pretty much everyone in the world," says Seitz. "We've worked with the Los Angeles Police Department and are starting a collaboration with the Riverside Police Department to address specialized vision need of these populations. Other [kinds of] athletes can benefit, [too]."

Read More:

Topics: BASEBALL | NEWS | VISION
Sam DeHority
- Sam DeHority is an Associate Editor at STACK Media. He was previously a member of the editorial staffs at 'Men’s Fitness' and 'Muscle & Fitness,'...
Sam DeHority
- Sam DeHority is an Associate Editor at STACK Media. He was previously a member of the editorial staffs at 'Men’s Fitness' and 'Muscle & Fitness,'...
Must See
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,797,503
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,109,334
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 2,169,569

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 147,463
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,154
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 23,946
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

4 Soccer Drills to Shoot Better While on the Move

You can't win if you don't score goals in soccer. Scoring chances come very rarely throughout the game it is important to capitalize on the few that do....

Top 3 Hockey Training Mistakes

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

How to Recover After Getting Hit by a Pitch

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

3 Offensive Line Drills That'll Help You Keep Your QB Clean

Basketball Dribbling Drills: Use Chaos to Develop Killer Handles

Wide Receivers: Learn to Catch Every Jump Ball, Every Time

This 13-Year-Old Girl Would Strike You Out

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

Shooting Drills That Will Make You a Knock-Down Shooter

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

Improve Your Jump Shot with Core Strength

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

Tony Wroten's Lethal Crossover Leaves Defender in the Dust

Develop an Unstoppable Crossover Dribble With Just 3 Drills

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

Boost Your Fastball With This Weighted Baseball Workout

Use These 3 Principles to Improve Your Basketball Defense

4 Drills That'll Help You Become an Elite Running Back

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

Andrew McCutchen Is Raking His Way to Consecutive MVP Honors

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

2 Drills to Help You Play Lockdown Basketball Defense

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

Softball Pitchers: How to Play Your Best Over a Complete Season

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

WATCH: 5 Post Moves From Nerlens Noel

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

5 Things You Can Learn From Playing Pre-Season Basketball