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My Quiet Eye 3 pages: | 1 | 2 | 3 |

by Leighann Doan

Photo of Leighann Doan playing basketball
In "A Quiet Eye," we saw Alan improve his golf game simply by steadying his gaze. Alan wasn't the first athlete to benefit from Joan Vickers' quiet eye training. University of Calgary basketball player Leighann Doan used it to improve her free-throw shooting skills. Now a professional basketball player in Europe, Doan recounts how quiet eye training helped her along the path to success.
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Time is running out on the clock, down by one point, the fans are causing a loud distraction, the game is on the line, two free throws to win the game. . .

More than a handful of times I have had the opportunity to be in this position. Nothing can be more satisfying to a basketball player than to look that challenge straight in the eye and know, without a shadow of a doubt, you can conquer it. Time and time again, games are won or lost depending on how players respond to the pressure at the free throw line.

Games are won or lost depending on how players respond to the pressure at the free throw line.

As a young player, just starting my university career at the University of Calgary, I was an average free throw shooter. I perfected my routine -two dribbles and a spin of the ball- but that never seemed to be enough. Despite my continual practice, I could never seem to get my free throw percentage up above 70%. This was something that constantly haunted me. I wanted to be able to finish my play at the free throw line.

I knew the importance of having a habitual routine and I did my best to focus my mind, but for some reason, I could not conquer the challenge that was before me. It seemed to be such a simple task to accomplish. However, I never realized I was missing a very integral aspect of a great free throw shooter - focusing my eyes.

Following the conclusion of my third season, my coach, Shawnee Harle, asked a few players on the team to be a part of specific research she was conducting on the theory of Quiet Eye. I had never heard of it, but it seemed like a good opportunity to pick up a few useful tricks and help out my coach. I did not realize it, but this concept was about to transform my free throw shooting. The theory behind quiet eye held the key to the success I was looking for.
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3 pages: | 1 | 2 | 3 |

Photo: Bernie Steenbergen

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