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Slo-pitch placement hitting movement analysis Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Wu, Tong Ching Tom
Supervisor and department
Gervais, Pierre (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
Chiu, Loren (Physical Education and Recreation)
Bouffard, Marcel (Physical Education and Recreation)
Carey, Jason (Mechanical Engineering)
Baudin, Pierre (Physical Education and Recreation)
Caldwell, Graham (Kinesiology)
Physical Education and Recreation

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Many sports biomechanics research studies follow a traditional task analysis concept that there is only one best possible movement pattern and thus focus on the examination of kinematics and kinetics of movement without considering the influence of constraints that are imposed on it. This study developed an interdisciplinary approach by utilizing the principles of ecological task analysis and movement coordination from areas of motor leaning and biomechanics to examine the skill of placement hitting in slo-pitch softball. The choice of evaluating this slo-pitch batting skill to assess movement patterns is pragmatic because of its popularity of the sport and uniqueness of the batting movement. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the influence of two task constraints (stride technique and designated field location) and an environmental constraint (pitched ball location) on the participants’ batting performances, kinematics, and movement patterns. A three-way ANOVA of 2 fields (same and opposite) x 2 locations of pitch (inside and outside) x 3 strides (open, parallel and closed) repeated measure study was conducted in this study. The results showed that participants were more successful in placing the ball to the same field instead of the opposite field. The pitched ball location and stride techniques did not have a consistent impact on the results across the different hitting conditions. To achieve these batting performance results, participants demonstrated different joint movements and different coordination patterns. Hence, this study supports the rationale of ecological task analysis but not traditional task analysis. Further, to understand the generalizability of the findings, a Euclidean distance analysis was conducted to evaluate the degree of dissimilarity between the individual and group mean results. The results indicated that participants generally showed a low degree of dissimilarity, so they were quite homogeneous as a group. Hence, the results from this study not only enable us to evaluate a human movement skill under the influence of different constraints but educators may apply the findings to other players. A similar interdisciplinary approach is warranted for future research studies in order to better understand the mechanics of human motion.
License granted by Tong-Ching Tom Wu ( on 2010-07-07T16:04:23Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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