Effects of Temporal Constraints on the Kinematics of One-Handed Ball Catching
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Since the years 1960-1970, the task of catching a ball one-handed has been the subject of interest of many researchers (e.g., Whiting, Gill, & Stephenson, 1970). Notwithstanding the deployment of different theoretical approaches, surprisingly little is known about the kinematics of the catching movement. In fact, only Alderson, Sully, and Sully (1974) have provided a descriptive study, suggesting a sequential organization of the movement comparable to that classically used in the task of grasping stationary objects (e.g., Jeannerod, 1988). According to Alderson et al. (1974), a catching movement takes some 200 ms to complete and is composed of a phase in which the hand is oriented towards the future place of contact and a grasping (finger closing) phase, initiated on average 30 ms before ball-hand contact. Their qualitative analysis, based on a high-speed film technique (300 Hz), however, contains only one temporal condition (flight time: 600 ms; mean ball velocity: 9 m Is). Hence, one can ask whether the spatio-temporal organization of the catch remains similar under different temporal constraints.