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Witt, J.K., & Proffitt, D.R. (2005). See the ball, hit the ball: Apparent ball size is correlated with batting average. Psychological Science, 16(12), 937-938.

Baseball players frequently say that the ball appears bigger when they are hitting well. In describing a mammoth 565ft home run, Mickey Mantle said, “I never really could explain it. I just saw the ball as big as a grapefruit” (Ultimate New York Yankees, n.d.). George Scott of the Boston Red Sox said, “When you’re hitting the ball [well], it comes at you looking like a grapefruit. When you’re not, it looks like a blackeyed pea” (Baseball Almanac, n.d.). During a slump, Joe “Ducky” Medwick of the St. Louis Cardinals said he felt like he was “swinging at aspirins” (, n.d.). Similar comments have been made by such Hall of Famers as Ted Williams (Roger Joslin, n.d.), “Wee” Willie Keeler (, n.d.), George Brett (LA Article, n.d.), and more. This phenomenon is not limited to baseball. When playing well, tennis players report that the ball looks huge, golfers say the cup looks bigger, and basketball players say the hoop looks enormous. All of these people report perceptions, which were modulated by performance efficacy. Our experiment confirms that this phenomenon is a psychological reality.

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