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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02424

The Role of Quiet Eye Timing And Location in the Basketball Three-point Shot: A New Research Paradigm

 Joan Vickers1*,  Joe Causer2 and Dan Vanhooren3
  • 1Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Canada
  • 2Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom
  • 3University of Calgary , Faculty of Kinesiology , Calgary , Canada, University of Calgary, Canada

We investigated three areas of uncertainty about the role of vision in basketball shooting, the timing of fixations (early, late), the location of fixations (hoop centre, non-centre) and the effect of the defender on performance. We also sought to overcome a limitation of past quiet eye studies that reported only one quiet eye (QE) period prior to a phase of the action. Elite basketball players received the pass and took 3-point shots in undefended and defended conditions. Five sequential QE periods were analyzed that were initiated prior to each phase of the shooting action: QE catch, QE arm preparation, QE arm flexion, QE arm extension, and QE ball release. We used a novel design in which the number of hits and misses were held constant by condition, thus leaving the timing and location of QE fixations free to vary across the phases during an equal number of successful and unsuccessful trials. The number of QE fixations accounted for 87% of total fixations. The greatest percent occurred during QE catch (43.6%), followed by QE arm flexion (34.1%), QE arm extension (17.5%) and QE ball release (4.8%). No fixations were found prior to QE arm preparation, due to a saccade made immediately to the target after QE catch. Fixation frequency averaged 2.20 per trial, and 1.25 during the final shooting action, meaning that most participants had time for only one fixation as the shot was taken. Accuracy was enhanced when: 1) an early QE offset occurred prior to the catch, 2) an early saccade was made to the target, 3) a longer QE duration occurred during arm flexion, and 4) QE arm flexion was located on the centre of the hoop, rather than on non-centre locations. Overall, the results provide evidence that vision of the hoop was severely limited during the last phase of the shooting action (QE ball release). The significance of the results is explored in the discussion, along with a QE training program designed to improve three-point shooting. Overall, the results greatly expand the role of the QE in explaining optimal motor performance.

Keywords: Vision, motor control, Attention, Perception-Action, Expertise, eye tracking, training

Received: 03 Jul 2019; Accepted: 11 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Vickers, Causer and Vanhooren. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Joan Vickers, University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology, Calgary, T2N 1N4, AB, Canada, vickers@ucalgary.ca