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It's about anticipation: Thomas explains the art of hitting a fast ball

Dean Jerry R. ThomasJerry R. Thomas, dean and professor in the College of Education, was recently featured in Sports Illustrated magazine as part of a new series on sports science.

The article, written by David Epstein, is entitled "It's All About Anticipation" and is featured on pages 54-57 of the Aug. 8 issue. It investigates batter anticipation in response to a pitcher’s throwing, how the batter processes the nuance of a pitcher’s throwing motion and the reason baseball players can hit 100 mph fastballs but miss 70 mph softballs.

In the article, Thomas references mid-20th century softball pitcher Eddie Feigner - whose four-man team was known as the King and his Court - and his ability to strike out baseball greats Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Brooks Robinson, Maury Wills, Harmon Killebrew and Roberto Clemente.

Thomas, who has studied expert athletes and played against Feigner in a game in 1958, states, “He knew baseball players couldn’t hit the softball. People assume it’s easier to hit because it’s bigger. But it comes from a different distance with a different motion.”

Thomas also works with Epstein on developing the sports science series and has been asked to continue in this advisory role.

Thomas is UNT's faculty athletic representative.

Posted on: Tue 09 August 2011

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