Contextual interference effects with skilled baseball players

Percept Mot Skills. 1994 Jun;78(3 Pt 1):835-41. doi: 10.1177/003151259407800331.


The learning benefits of contextual interference have been frequently demonstrated in different settings using novice learners. The purpose of the present study was to test such effects with skilled athletic performers. Scheduling differences for biweekly additional ("extra") batting-practice sessions of a collegiate baseball team were examined. 30 players (ns = 10) were blocked on skill and then randomly assigned to one of three groups. The random and blocked groups received 2 additional batting-practice sessions each week for 6 wk. (12 sessions), while the control group received no additional practice. The extra sessions consisted of 45 pitches, 15 fastballs, 15 curveballs, and 15 change-up pitches. The random group received these pitches in a random order, while the blocked group received all 15 of one type, then 15 of the next type, and finally 15 of the last type of pitch in a blocked fashion. All subjects received a pretest of 45 randomly presented pitches of the three varieties. After 6 wk. of extra batting practice, all subjects received two transfer tests, each of 45 trials; one was presented randomly and one blocked. The transfer tests were counterbalanced across subjects. Pretest analysis showed no significant differences among groups. On both the random and blocked transfer tests, however, the random group performed with reliably higher scores than the blocked group, who performed better than the control group. When comparing the pretest to the random transfer test, the random group improved 56.7%, the blocked group 24.8%, and the control group only 6.2%.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Baseball / psychology*
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice, Psychological*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Transfer, Psychology