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Visual search strategies in experienced and inexperienced soccer players.

By A M Williams, K Davids, L Burwitz and J G Williams


This study investigated skill-based differences in anticipation and visual search strategy within open-play situations in soccer. Experienced (n = 15) and inexperienced (n = 15) subjects were required to anticipate pass destination from filmed soccer sequences viewed on a large 3-m x 3-m video projection screen. MANCOVA showed that experienced soccer players demonstrated superior anticipatory performance. Univariate analyses revealed between-group differences in speed of response but not in response accuracy. Also, inexperienced players fixated more frequently on the ball and the player passing the ball, whereas experienced players fixated on peripheral aspects of the display, such as the positions and movements of other players. The experienced group fixated on significantly more locations than their inexperienced counterparts. Further differences were noted in search rate, with experienced players exhibiting more fixations of shorter duration. The experienced group's higher search rate contradicted previous research. However, this resulted from using 11 on 11 film sequences, which were never previously used in visual search research. The increased frequency of eye fixations was regarded as being more advantageous for anticipating pass destination during open play in soccer. Finally, a number of practical implications were highlighted

Publisher: American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance
Year: 1994
DOI identifier: 10.1080/02701367.1994.10607607
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