Everyone's a winner – Improving individual performance
If you are a sports scientist, you have to make detailed observations of the movement and activities of athletes in a range of solo and team sports. Measuring and improving performance often requires combining physiological, biomechanical and behavioral data to provide a complete picture of performance.
As a trainer, you are aware of the need to provide immediate, specific feedback – whatever the sport. This will most likely include video playback to illustrate errors in technique, to motivate or to summarize improvement over several sessions.
Since hand and eye coordination is the key issue here, eye tracking can play a major role in allowing both scientists and trainers to evaluate and measure the progress of their athletes. In this way, you can effectively train such skills as reaction times, alertness and precision.
In sports involving aircraft, for example, it is important to evaluate fixation duration on cockpit instruments as opposed to the time spent looking outside the plane. In ball sports, on the other hand, research is concentrating on whether professionals focus more on the ball itself or on the target area.
Eye and gaze tracking technology can prove effective in analyzing the following sports:
Due to the demanding environments and situations found in most sports, the productive use of eye tracking with real-world tasks requires robust technology that is still easy to wear and non-invasive. It also needs to be fast and easy to configure, comprising a minimum number of components.
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Comparison of experts and novice behavior in sports using a headmounted eye tracking unit
The SPARC group at Roehampton University, London, uses the iView X™ HED to monitor the eye-movements of athletes. The HED records the subjects' surroundings from their point of view and overlays a cursor to indicate gaze-position. The resulting overlay video is synchronized with video and audio output from other recording devices, such that gaze position and other behavior can be analyzed online and also stored for later software analysis. Their work includes an assessment of basketball players having to maneuver around a defender to reach the basket (experts vs. novices).