ArticlePDF Available

Training Quiet Eye Improves Accuracy in the Basketball Free Throw

Authors:

Abstract

University women's basketball players (Team A) received quiet eye (QE) training over two seasons of league play, compared to two control teams (Team B and Team C), who competed at the top of the same league but did not receive similar training. QE was defined as the player's final fixation on the hoop or backboard prior to the shooting action. In Season 1, Team A improved significantly, Pre to Post, in experimental accuracy, QE duration, and relative shot timing but did not transfer these improvements to league play during the season. At the conclusion of Season 2, Team A improved their free throw shooting accuracy by 22.62% to 76.66%, more than Team B (66.18%) or C (74.05%). The results highlight the importance of training a sustained duration of QE on a single location on the hoop prior to the execution of the shooting action. Theoretical and applied implications of training QE are discussed, and recommendations are made for future research and training. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
... Golf (Vickers, 1992;Vickers, 2004) Basketball (Harle & Vickers, 2001;Oudejans, Koedijker, Bleijendaal, & Bakker, 2005;Oudejans, van de Langenberg, & Hutter, 2002;Vickers, 1996a, b, c) Volleyball (Adolphe, Vickers, & LaPlante, 1997;McPherson & Vickers, 2004) Darts (Vickers, Rodrigues, & Edworthy, 2000) Rifle shooting (Janelle et al., 2000;Vickers & Williams, under review) Billiards (Williams, Singer, & Frehlich, 2002) Table tennis Ice hockey tactics Ice hockey goaltending The quiet eye of elite athletes is both earlier and longer than that of athletes with lower skill levels. It is also trainable, and in a number of studies such training has been shown to contribute to unusually large increases in performance (Harle & Vickers, 2001;Oudejans, Koedijker, Bleijendaal, & Bakker, 2005;Vickers, Morton, & Panchuk, in progress). ...
... Golf (Vickers, 1992;Vickers, 2004) Basketball (Harle & Vickers, 2001;Oudejans, Koedijker, Bleijendaal, & Bakker, 2005;Oudejans, van de Langenberg, & Hutter, 2002;Vickers, 1996a, b, c) Volleyball (Adolphe, Vickers, & LaPlante, 1997;McPherson & Vickers, 2004) Darts (Vickers, Rodrigues, & Edworthy, 2000) Rifle shooting (Janelle et al., 2000;Vickers & Williams, under review) Billiards (Williams, Singer, & Frehlich, 2002) Table tennis Ice hockey tactics Ice hockey goaltending The quiet eye of elite athletes is both earlier and longer than that of athletes with lower skill levels. It is also trainable, and in a number of studies such training has been shown to contribute to unusually large increases in performance (Harle & Vickers, 2001;Oudejans, Koedijker, Bleijendaal, & Bakker, 2005;Vickers, Morton, & Panchuk, in progress). Information on the quiet eye will be elaborated upon in chapters 4 through 8, where the quiet eye is described as found in targeting tasks, interceptive timing tasks, and tactical tasks. ...
... The quiet eye is introduced as a gaze that underlies higher levels of expertise and performance accuracy in these tasks. Two training studies (Harle & Vickers, 2001;Oudejans, Koedijker, Bleijendaal, & Bakker, 2005) are presented. These studies show that training a quiet eye leads to unusually large increases in performance, which is also accompanied by self-organization of the skill. ...
Book
Full-text available
Athletes must be able to make split-second decisions under the pressures of competition, but often this vital learning is left to chance. With Perception, Cognition, and Decision Training: The Quiet Eye in Action, readers gain access to the research foundations behind an innovative decision-training system that has been used successfully for years in training athletes. Certain to become the definitive guide to decision making in sport, this text presents three innovations solidly based in research. The first is the vision- in-action method of recording what athletes actually see when they perform. The second is the quiet eye phenomenon that has attracted considerable media attention. The third innovation is decision training to identify not only how athletes make performance decisions but also how to facilitate visual perception and action to enhance performance. Author Joan Vickers—who discovered the quiet eye and developed the vision-in-action method—takes the next step by integrating all three innovations into a system for helping athletes improve. Together, these advances provide scientific evidence of the effectiveness of perception– action coupling in athletes’ training.
... The QE period of elite performers is significantly longer than that of near-elite [7][8][9][10][11]. While QE indicates skilled performance, it can also be affected by training [12]. Different researchers have examined the efficiency of QE training on skills in various sport such as shotgun shooting [13], penalty kicks [14], golf putting [2], and receiving in volleyball [15], and all of them have reported similar efficiencies. ...
... In addition, the results in the duration of movement phases showed that the QE-trained group had significantly longer flexion and extension duration in post-test and pressure test than the control group that these differences are likely due to the alterations in visuomotor control derived from the extended QE durations. This is a potentially important finding as it indicates that visual-attentional training may craft a change in the mechanics of performing shots although the instructions focus only on gaze control [12]. Neuroscience research provides support for this contention, in that it has been reliably demonstrated that eye movements to informative locations in a scene tend to precede motor actions, which are then guided, monitored, and ultimately terminated under vision supervision. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose The present study aimed to investigate the efficacy of a QE-training duration on improving the performance and accuracy of basketball three-point shot and determined whether such training protected against attentional disruptions associated with performing under pressure. Methods Eighteen expert male basketball players wore a mobile eye tracker to assess their quite eye (QE) duration when performing three-point shots carried out over 6 days without defensive pressure. They first participated in pre-test and were randomly allocated into a quiet eye (QE)-trained and control group. Both groups participated in video feedback of their gaze behavior and on-court training sessions and only the QE-trained group received additional instructions related to maintaining a longer QE duration. Their accuracy and gaze behaviors were recorded through post and pressure tests. Results The QE-trained group performed significantly better and had longer total, early and late QE duration through the phase of tests compared to the control group. Conclusion These results provide support for the efficacy of QE training focused on using visual information until the ball is released in undefended conditions. Future research is needed to determine if the results also apply when the athlete is closely defended.
... In a subsequent work in 2001, Harle and Vickers taught university basketball players how to extend this final fixation. The players who received the training protocol improved their free throw shooting accuracy more than those who did not receive it [3]. A few years later, Vine and Wilson proposed the same training protocol to novice basketball players. ...
... The initiation of QE is called "QE onset," and it occurs before performing the critical movement. The extension of the arm before the release of the ball has been defined as the critical movement in basketball throws (i.e., the onset of the extension phase [3,4,[40][41][42]). Therefore, we calculated QE onset as the interval in milliseconds between the onset of the extension phase and QE initiation. ...
Article
Full-text available
Research on attention in sport using eye-tracking methodology has highlighted that the highest levels of expertise and performance are characterized by a specific gaze behavior consisting of a perception–action variable named quiet eye. The present study aimed to understand the role of quiet eye during the three-point shot, especially in game conditions in which even a single point may determine victory or defeat. Twenty-one basketball players (twelve competitive elites and nine semi-elites) with a high-shooting style performed three-point shots in four game scenarios different from each other for the time available (time pressure) and the relevance of the score (performance pressure). The results showed that competitive elites performed a longer quiet eye online duration and a shorter QE preprogramming duration than semi-elites, especially in the highest-pressure condition. On the one hand, these results suggest that quiet eye during three-point shots could fulfill an online control function. On the other hand, the findings stressed the importance of implementing experimental conditions that can resemble as closely as possible actual sport situations. Finally, we suggest that sport professionals interested in administering to athletes a quiet eye training protocol in order to improve three-point shot performance consider the shooting style of the players.
... The first quiet eye (QE) studies were published 25 years ago 1,2 and the first quiet eye training (QET) studies shortly thereafter. 3,4 The QE is formally defined as the final fixation or pursuit tracking gaze that is located on a specific location or object in the task environment within 3° of visual angle (or less) for a minimum of 100 milliseconds (ms) prior to a critical phase of the movement. 1,2,5,6 Since the onset of the QE begins before the onset of a critical phase of the movement, this makes it a unique eye movement compared to others in the extant literature. ...
... Table 1 presents five highly cited QE motor accuracy studies as found in SCOPUS and Google Scholar as of February 2021. 2,4,[40][41][42] Shown is the author and title, sports task, number and skill level of participants, between and within factors, the number of hits and misses per condition per participant, and significant QE duration results as they relate to motor accuracy. Of special importance in the context of the current paper is the bolded column which lists the number of hits and misses included per condition per participant. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reveals new insights that comes from comparing quiet eye (QE) studies within the motor accuracy and motor error paradigms. Motor accuracy is defined by the rules of the sport (e.g,. hits versus misses), while motor error is defined by a behavioral measure, such as how far a ball or other object lands from the target (e.g. radial error). The QE motor accuracy paradigm treats accuracy as an independent variable and determines the QE duration during an equal (or near-equal) number of hits and misses per condition per participant, while the motor error QE paradigm combines hits and misses into one data set and determines the correlation between the QE and motor error, which is used as a proxy for accuracy. QE studies within the motor accuracy paradigm consistently find a longer QE duration is a characteristic of skill, and/or interaction of skill by accuracy. In contrast, QE motor error studies do not analyze or report the relationship between the QE duration and accuracy (although often claimed), and rarely find a significant correlation between the QE duration and error. Evidence is provided showing the absence of significant results in QE motor error studies is due to the low number of accurate trials found in motor error studies due to the inherent complexity of all sport skills. Novices in targeting skills make fewer than 20% of their shots and experts less than 40% (with some exceptions) creating imbalanced data sets that make it difficult, if not impossible, to find significant QE results (or any other neural, perceptual or cognitive variable) related to motor accuracy in sport.
... The quiet eye is also affected by training. A two-year follow-up experiment by Harle and Vickers 26 proved that quiet eye training has a positive effect on final fixation duration. In addition, they observed delayed positive effects of quiet eye training on basketball game performance. ...
Article
Visual attention has a significant impact on shooting performance in basketball. Over the past 35 years, researchers have explored individual concepts of visual attention, such as gaze fixation, the number and direction of saccades, and their effects on shooting accuracy. The last gaze fixation, also known as the quiet eye, was found to be particularly important. The aim of this paper was therefore to systematically review the literature to present how visual attention and the quiet eye contribute to shooting performance and how they are affected by anxiety, training, defensive pressure, and fatigue. The 26 articles selected were divided into two categories; the first category included studies that examined visual attention during free throws, and the second category included studies examining jump shots. In addition, we performed a meta-analytic comparison to determine whether the duration of the quiet eye differs with respect to temporal constraints. Results show that for both jump shots with or without defence and free throws, a longer quiet eye durations and a lower number of gaze fixations are associated with better performance. For a successful shot, the quiet eye phase must occur at the right moment, which is likely due to visuomotor reaction latency prior to elbow extension. Furthermore, improvement in shooting performance can be achieved through quiet eye training or traditional training. Nevertheless, individual factors such as quiet eye timing, systematic training, and visual attention in top basketball players of different playing positions need to be further explored as this will provide even more information for individual’s improvement.
Article
In the current study, predictions of a theoretical account to the explanation of the Quiet Eye (QE) were investigated. To this end, by manipulating the learning environment, participants ( n = 52) learned an underhand throwing task which required to explore task-solution spaces of low vs. high density over a 4-week training phase (640 training trials). Although throwing performance was improved, surprisingly, in posttest and retention test shorter QE durations were found. It is speculated that on a short-time learning scale this effect might be explained by more efficient information processing. Moreover, a trend was observed which suggests that—in line with the inhibition hypothesis—when exploring high-density task-solution spaces longer QE durations are required. However, the rather small effect sizes necessitate further research, which will allow to manipulate the response–effect mappings more directly as, for example, in virtual environments.
Article
The present study aimed to examine the effect of a quiet eye training (QET) intervention compared to a technical training (TT) intervention on the visual control and performance of rugby union goal-kickers. Male rugby union players ( n = 18, M age = 21.35 years, SD = 2.03) were randomly assigned into a QET or TT group. Participants completed a pre-test, retention test 1, pressure test, and retention test 2 over six weeks, including a two-week intervention programme. The QET focussed on the QE and performance, while TT focussed on technical aspects of rugby goal-kicking. Each participant performed a total of 50 kicks that consisted of 15 kicks during the pre-test, retention test 1, and retention test 2, and five kicks during the pressure test. Using a Dikablis eye-tracker the QE was measured before (QE-pre), and during (QE-online), the run-up of the goal-kick. The results indicated that QE-pre durations increased from the pre-test to both retention tests and the pressure test for the QET group only (all p's < 0.05, all d's ≥ 0.08). The QET group also displayed longer QE-pre durations during the pressure and retention tests (all p's < 0.05, all d's ≥ 0.80), and longer QE-online durations during the pressure test ( d = 0.73), compared to the TT group. Finally, the QET group outperformed the TT group during the pressure test ( d = 0.72). Thus, overall, our results revealed that a short QET intervention benefitted attentional control and goal-kicking performance, particularly under high-pressure.
Article
Full-text available
QE is the final ocular fixation that precedes critical athletic movements and that enables athletes to gather relevant information and organize their subsequent movement. Although little is known about the factors sustaining performance in table tennis, to date there has been no investigation to assess QE as a contributor to table tennis performance. Furthermore, there is limited research regarding the influence on QE of factors that are known to impact performance, such as task complexity and fatigue. In a within-subjects experimental design, we manipulated fatigue (high vs low) and task complexity (high vs low). Eleven elite table tennis players (mage =14.72 years, mexperience = 7.27 years) underwent each of the four resulting conditions. Athletes made longer QE before hit versus missed shots (p <.001, η2p = .795) and QE and performance decreased under fatigue (p =0.02, η2p = .628; p = .002, η2p = .62), but we did not detect a significant effect of complexity on QE (p = .352, η2p = .087). This study is one of the first to show that QE sustains performance in a dynamic sport, that is table tennis, and that QE is affected by fatigue.
Article
Full-text available
The main aim of the study was to determine the importance of visual functions in the basketball free throw shot. The emphasis was placed on the importance of the influence of visual feedback, the influence of emphasised eye focus on the ring before the shot is taken, and the influence of visual acuity on performance. The study included 15 basketball players with basketball experiences in the 2nd and 3rd Slovenian Basketball Leagues (age 24 ± 4 years, body height 188 ± 7 cm, body weight 85 ± 8 kg). The selected basketball players performed 20 free throws in 6 different conditions. Statistical analysis of the data revealed that there were no statistically significant differences in performance between free throws in normal conditions and free throws in difficult conditions, except when the performance in free throws in normal conditions and performance in free throws without visible information (blindfolded) was performed. Although no statistically significant differences were found, it turned out that the players were, on average, less successful in all the throws they performed in difficult conditions. The assumption, that players who are on average more successful in free throws in normal conditions are also more successful in free throws in difficult conditions, was confirmed.
Article
Full-text available
Based on the biomechanics research on shooting a basketball, six key teaching points for mid-range to long-range jump shots are proposed. These concepts should be evaluated and translated into appropriate cue words for feedback to performers.
Article
Combining the technologies of EEG and eye tracking has been advocated as a means of gaining a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms that regulate human visual attention. However, successful concurrent acquisition of artifact-free cortical and ocular data of this nature has not been reported. Thus, the goals of this exploratory investigation were (1) to determine whether accurate and reliable data could be simultaneously recorded from EEG and eye movement instrumentation, and (2) to create a psychophysi- ological profile of an elite marksman. EEG spectral activity and eye movements were investigated during a regulation indoor shooting task with the Noptel laser shooting simulation. Results indicated that EEG alpha power and the quiet eye period were significantly associated, and that this relationship was a function of performance variability. Findings are discussed in the context of both traditional and contemporary psycho- physiological accounts of expertise, with specific reference made to the organization of visual-cortic al struc- tures prior to shot execution. Future possibilities for this combined methodology in both self-paced and reactive sport tasks are discussed.
Article
The suitability of Gray's (1975) three-factor arousal theory as a model of human performance under stress was investigated in a study of basketball free-throw shooting. Free-throw attempts, made by members of an NCAA Division I men's varsity team, were videotaped during one full season. On the basis of Gray's theory, we predicted that increased stress (assumed to be present in games as opposed to practices) would be associated with longer pre-shot preparations and a greater incidence of overthrow shots. The prediction was confirmed by the results. Moreover, we found that free-throws were more frequently overthrown when attempted during crucial rather than non-crucial game situations. Further tests of the utility of Gray's theory are suggested.
Article
Subjects produced speeded and unspeeded hand movements to a target location after either saccadic or pursuit eye movements to the target. Hand movements began either aligned with the initial position of gaze or from some other location. Subjects generally underestimated the extent of the pursuit eye movements relative to estimates made after saccades. With speeded hand movements, however, the underestimation was reduced considerably if the hand movements began aligned with a location other than the initial position of gaze. The results reveal details of the mechanisms underlying eye-hand coordination and show that important differences exist in the information used for localization for slow and rapid limb movements.