steady gaze improves an athlete's free throw
"A Quiet Eye," Joan Vickers
of the University of Calgary uses a helmet outfitted with
cameras and mirrors to track where athletes look as they play.
Donning the elaborate headgear, Alan picks up a putter to
see if there's a difference in where a rank amateur looks
while putting as compared to a professional golfer.
has found that almost all novice golfers follow the ball with
their eyes after they hit it--and Alan's no exception. By
comparison, David Lindsay has been taught by Vickers to use
his eyes the way the experts do. He looks steadily at the
intended target for a second or two, looks back at the ball
and lets his gaze rest there before and even after the stroke--what
Vickers calls a "quiet eye."
this technique help Alan? On his previous tries, Alan never
hit better than three putts in six tries. Using the quiet
eye gaze, he improves to four in six.
several seasons, Vickers has used this technique to improve
the free throwing of the University of Calgary's women's basketball
team. First, she trains them to say "Nothing but net" to settle
themselves down. Then, as they stare at the net, they say,
"Sight, Focus," ensuring their gaze remains steady on the
target for at least one second.
put Vickers' technique to the test playing tennis
team was shooting 54 percent when Vickers started working
with them. Within three years, they improved by an extraordinary
in hand, Alan once again tries the quiet-eye technique. The
result: nothing but net.
more on this topic, see the web feature:
Keep Your Mind on the Ball