‘Hitting is in large part a brain skill’: Neuroscientists examine how batters do the seemingly impossible

Here’s the windup and the pitch. And in less time than it takes to read this, the batter swings. That five-ounce white ball leaves the pitcher’s hand like a lightning bolt, often swerving as it comes. In Major League Baseball, a pitch takes less than half a second to reach home plate, but by then it’s much too late to react. A good batter, though, can hit even the fastest pitch, sometimes even knocking it out of the park. How do the muscles and the nerves and the brain manage to work together to get this accomplished, in next to no time? As Yogi Berra said (or is said to have said, anyway), you can’t think and hit at the same time. At the highest levels, hitting a baseball is…


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