Toward defining the role of gaze control in complex targeting skills
Abstract A framework for exploring gaze control in targetting skills is presented in a study of four low handicap (0-8 high skilled) and four high handicap golfers (10-16) in putting. Gaze was assessed using a mobile eye movement system as the subjects perfomed consecutive putts from 3 m. Mean frequency and duration of gaze was analysed relative to the phase of the movement, gaze behaviour, gaze location, and outcome (hits versus misses). MANOVA (frequency and duration) detected two significant differences for outcome. There was a greater probability of hits if the gaze was singular and remained fixated on the ball during the backswing/foreswing, and if the gaze remained fixed on the surface after the ball was contacted. A number of significant differences in gaze control were also detected between the low and high handicap golfers. Low handicap golfers tended to use a variable, non-repetitive form of gaze control, in which long fixation durations to the ball and target were alternated with quicker saccadic behaviours. Higher handicap golfers tended to use a repetitive form of gaze control, with a consistent gaze duration of about one second, irrespective of gaze behaviour or location.