Science - Hitting the slower ball
Live science has an article about the supposed reason it is hard to hit a slower pitch.
"When you throw something slowly to a child, you think you're doing them a favor by trying to be helpful," said Terri Lewis, professor of psychology at McMaster University. "Slow balls actually appear stationary to a child."
Add a little speed to the pitch, Lewis and her colleagues suggest, and the child is able to judge its speed more accurately.
"Our brain has very few neurons that deal specifically with slow motion and many neurons that deal with faster motion," Lewis said. "Even adults are worse at slow speeds than they are at faster speeds."
Kids' neurons are immature, making the task even more challenging for them.
Wow...Kids have immature neurons. We have neurons that deal specifically with slow motion?
Sorry, I don't really buy this. Whilst kids and people may do worse with slower throws, it is somewhat difficult to rule out other important factors. One key difference between a slow and fast ball is the trajectory of the ball. A faster ball is flatter and approaches the batter from a more perpindicular angle. This allows the bat swing to travel almost perfectly in line with the ball. For a slower pitch, the vertical movement of the ball makes it harder to swing the bat in line with the direction the ball is actually coming from.
I think if they repeated the experiment with the balls speed being independent of its trajectory (there's a challenge for you....maybe they could do it on the space station :)) that it would highlight that speed is not the problem they make it out to be.