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The Adventures of FastMikie
in search of Truth and Beauty in the art of pocket billiards.




Monday, July 28, 2008

Quiet Eye - why the pause in the backswing works

Alison Fisher's very pronounced pause at the end of the back swing, prior to releasing her stroke, could be a primary reason for her excellence at pocket billiards. For some research on this topic, check out this study (PDF file) published in the Journal of Motor Behavior, 2002. The basic premise is that the more successful billiard players have a longer period of "Quiet Eye" and that this time is used to more effectively program the factors in delivering an accurate stroke. Here's the abstract of the study:


ABSTRACT. Skilled (n = 12) and less skilled (n = 12) billiards
players participated in 2 experiments in which the relationship
between quiet eye duration, expertise, and task complexity was
examined in a near and a far aiming task. Quiet eye was defined as
the final fixation on the target prior to the initiation of movement.
In Experiment 1, skilled performers exhibited longer fixations on
the target (quiet eye) during the preparation phase of the action
than their less skilled counterparts did. Quiet eye duration
increased as a function of shot difficulty and was proportionally
longer on successful than on unsuccessful shots for both groups of
participants. In Experiment 2, participants executed shots under 3
different time-constrained conditions in which quiet eye periods
were experimentally manipulated. Shorter quiet eye periods resulted
in poorer performance, irrespective of participant skill level.
The authors argue that quiet eye duration represents a critical period
for movement programming in the aiming response.

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