Carello C, Thuot S, Anderson K L, Turvey M T, 1999, "Perceiving the sweet spot" Perception 28(3) 307 – 320
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Perceiving the sweet spot
Claudia Carello, Steve Thuot, Krista L Anderson, M T Turvey
Received 10 December 1997, in revised form 30 October 1998
Abstract. Many sports involve aligning a hitting implement with a ball trajectory such that contact is made at the implement's center of percussion or 'sweet spot'. This spot is not visibly distinct; its perception must be haptic. Although it is functionally defined with respect to contact -- it is the point of impact that produces the least vibration in the hand holding the implement -- hitting success requires appreciating the location of the sweet spot prior to contact. Two experiments verified that perceivers (novices as well as expert tennis players) distinguished perception of length from perception of the position of the sweet spot simply on the basis of wielding, both for tennis rackets and for bats contrived from wooden rods with attached masses. Results conformed to previous research on dynamic touch in showing that perceiving the lengths of wielded objects, including selectively perceiving partial lengths, is constrained by inertial properties of the object.
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