Sports Performance and Research

Eye tracking is used to better understand an athlete’s individual performance by identifying links between their attentional focus, trajectory estimations, visual search strategies, hand-eye coordination and the individual’s actions during a game.

Eye tracking to improve training and optimize performance

For trainers, coaches, and players, an eye tracker is a powerful tool. This methodology allows any interested stakeholders to:

  • Compare the visual strategies of expert athletes with novices to see and understand gaze patterns leading to superior performance.
  • Create training materials from the eye tracking visuals by identifying the best practices from top athletes, recording their gaze, and using them as video tutorials or other training materials. ​
  • Cut training time, because, once you truly understand individual performance, training programs can be optimized for each athlete, which improves efficiency overall.
  • Predict where injuries might occur and prevent them with proper training programs.
  • Train using the ‘quiet-eye’ technique, follow the process improvements​- all with a unique first-person perspective into athletes’ behavior.

Eye tracking is used as a tool in:

  • Soccer
  • Table tennis
  • Dressage riding
  • Hockey
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Skiing
  • Motorsport

  • American football
  • Fencing
  • Tennis
  • Track running
  • Mountain biking
  • Golf
  • Archery

Enhancing goalkeepers’ strategies using eye tracking

William Rahm, a goalkeeper coach with the Swedish Hockey League brings eye tracking into his coaching sessions. To better understand the athletes’ reality and visual search strategies in the game, Rahm equipped one of the club’s top goalkeepers with Tobii Pro Glasses 2 during a regular training session.

Allowing for immediate feedback, as well as recording and replaying gaze patterns for further analysis and feedback sessions, eye tracking is a valuable training tool that unveiles the athletes’ subconscious behaviors. These valuable insights into the individual performance will serve as a basis for building more efficient, individually optimized training programs and shortening the learning curve.

Visual Attention in Formula 1

Formula 1 driver Nico Hülkenberg is one of the world's most talented motor sports drivers and is currently working with the Sahara Force India team. With the purpose of exploring his reaction times and visual reference points while in a Formula 1 car, he was equipped with Pro Glasses 2 while driving at Silverstone Circuit in the U.K. 

Using eye tracking, we see that the view of the Formula 1 driver is obstructed by the front wheels and Hülkenberg is forced to make decisions using limited visual information. His focus of attention is on the road, curves, and apex lines. He only uses his peripheral view to get information from the rev counter on the steering wheel.

Talent recognition

Eye movements directly affect sports performance. Because of this, measuring an athlete's innate attentional focus and trajectory-estimation skills can play a vital role in talent recognition. Watching gaze videos from training sessions immediately reveals an athlete's search strategies and, perhaps even more importantly, a lack thereof. Eye tracking can highlight the differences in attentional focus in training versus in more stressful competitive environments. By detecting what is being done incorrectly, a trainer can more easily correct flaws with consistency training.

More aspects about the key success factors in sports can be understood by comprehending how players perceive their surroundings on the field, especially in team sports.

Eye tracking in sport psychology

This is a video from our customer University College Dubin School of Psychology. Professor Aidan Moran explains the extensive eye tracking research performed at the school to understand the mental processes that distinguish expert athletes from beginners. Their data will help coaches train the next generation of players.

Products and services

Cases

Improving the performance of NASCAR teams with eye tracking.

Professional driving outfit Chip Ganassi Racing is using eye tracking technology to gain insight into the visual and mental processes of drivers and pit crew members. They use this knowledge to identify and teach skills which result in improved speed or accuracy. Read more

Using Eye Tracking to Analyze Surfers’ Gaze Patterns

Under the name Vision in Motion (VIM), several researchers from different areas of sports science combined their existing research constructs to study perceptual-cognitive expertise in surfing using both eye tracking and motion analysis technology. The insights obtained can help enhance the performance of athletes by optimizing their perception and action patterns. Read more

Swiss Ice Hockey Association

In this study conducted by the Swiss Ice Hockey Association, eye tracking was used to study gaze behavior during the physical task of shooting in ice hockey. The study generated new insights into the gaze behavior of successful shooters, which will be used to develop shooting techniques and training methods to maintain progress in shooting skills. Read more

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