Liberal Arts Blog — What is the Hardest Thing in Sports? Hitting a Baseball? Really?
Liberal Arts Blog — Saturday is the Joy of Sports, Dance, Fitness, and All Things Physical Day
Today’s Topic — What is the Hardest Thing in Sports? Hitting a Baseball? Really?
Did you ever ask yourself what the hardest thing in sports is? Did you ever come up with an answer that satisfied you? For decades I’ve heard it said that the hardest thing in sports is hitting a baseball but I never dug deep as to why it’s so hard. Today, some excerpts from an article in “Popular Science” on precisely this topic. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE EXTREME STRANGENESS OF BEING A GOOD HITTER
1. “There are few aspects of life where you can fail seven out of 10 times and still be considered great at what you do.”
2. “With a 30 percent score on the MCAT, you wouldn’t get into medical school.”
3. “You’d likely lose money if you only won 30 percent of your Super Bowl bets.”
NB: “But in baseball, if you get a hit 30 percent of the time you step up to the plate, you might be headed to the Hall of Fame…Ted Williams, for instance, one of the greatest hitters to ever play Major League Baseball, finished his 19-year career playing for the Boston Red Sox with a .344 batting average. That’s a 34 percent success rate, tied for seventh best in the sport’s history.”
90 MILES AN HOUR, 60 FEET AWAY, 115 MILLISECONDS TO RESPOND
1. The ball is in the hitting zone for only 10 milliseconds. “Essentially, the amount of time the ball is in a spot where the batter can make contact and keep it in fair territory equates to the time separating a photo finish at the Kentucky Derby.”
2. “Plus, hitting a round baseball with a round bat squarely is an additional piece to this complicated puzzle. Getting those two curvy objects to connect in just the right way is extremely difficult — if you’re off by just a smidge, the ball could hook foul or make for an easy out instead of sailing over the wall.”
3. “The margin of error for where the batter can make contact with the ball and hope to get a hit is half the width of the SIM-card in your iPhone.”
NB: It’s like trying “to hit a bullet with a bullet.”
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL CHALLENGE — not swinging
1. “Hitting a baseball is not about how fast a batter can swing, but rather how fast they can stop themselves from swinging at pitches they aren’t likely to get hits on — preventing more strikeouts and creating more opportunities to get a hit.”
2. “The ability to determine in 150 milliseconds whether to swing matters more than the batter just being able to swing quickly.”
3. “The second important area is a hitter’s ability to identify pitches,”
NB: How hard is hitting a baseball? Michael Jordan tried. No go.
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Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to sports, dance, fitness. Or the coolest thing you learned about Sports, Dance, of Fitness in your life — whether on the field, on the dance floor or in the gym, whether from a coach, a parent, a friend, or just your own experimentation.
This is your chance to make some one else’s day. Or even change their life. It’s perhaps a chance to put into words something you have never articulated before. And to cement in your own memory something cool you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.