"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
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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. . .
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.
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.
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.
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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Photo: Bernie Steenbergen