The science of baseball

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    Sean is the second from the left
August 20, 2013
Sean Connole’s love of baseball and his work in the Psychology Department combine to create a path to a career

Here’s the pitch

My internship was with the American Board of Sport Psychology (ABSP) which is based in New York, NY.  The board runs summer internships to undergraduate students as well as training visiting fellows to become board certified in evidence-based applied sport psychology.  The research that I completed pertained to heart rate variability and athlete profile assessments with a college baseball player.  I was considered an “at-a-distance” intern since I was playing summer baseball in Cheyenne, WY, when I started and for the duration of data collection.  I used state of the art technology and administered valid and reliable online test batteries in the field of sport and exercise studies, and I learned how to use all of these over phone calls and Skype.  

Along with my baseball data collected during actual competition, a handful of other interns were researching tennis, basketball, and golf players.  These interns came from schools such as New York University, University Washington, Penn State, and other schools abroad in Germany and Cyprus.  Altogether, our research in our respective fields was compiled into a symposium and booth proposal and sent to the American Psychological Association (APA), which was accepted for the 121st APA Convention in Honolulu, HI.  

My project was a  home run!

All of our research was considered groundbreaking due to the fact that our methods are ecologically derived offering real-time data retrieval of athletes during play while being completely wireless and free to move where they please.  But the research I did with baseball introduced the idea that every single heartbeat can be retrieved during actual competitions, which has never been done before to our knowledge.  So I took advantage of the opportunity to become co-lead author in a hot topic by completing the appropriate data analysis with Dr. Roland Carlstedt Ph.D, the chairman of the ABSP and head mentor.  Dr. Carlstedt was also the one who trained me and allowed me to use the board’s equipment across the country in Wyoming, without his trust I would not be where I am now to say the least.  

The title of our symposium at the APA Convention was “Technology and Sport Psychology - Psychophysiological Assessment and Intervention During Competition”.  The other interns and I all made the trip down to Honolulu to discuss topics and research at our booth for 3 days leading into our final presentation scheduled for Sunday morning.  After returning from the trip, I realized how much the classes, labs, and faculty in the Washington College Psychology Department assisted me in my career.  Experience at handling high-tech equipment, administering consent forms and test batteries to participants, and presenting research ideas/analyzed data to educated inquirers were all skills I had already mastered at WAC.  I am starting my graduate work this Fall and am excited for what the future will bring.  I’m ready.

Last modified on Oct. 28th, 2013 at 12:54pm by .

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Sean, my son also named Sean is a middle school science student attempting to research the heart rates in different sports athletes. Is there a place to see more of your study and data?