Back in elementary school gym class, virtually all of us were taught to keep our eyes on the ball during sports. But a growing body of research suggests that, as adults, most of us have forgotten how to do this.
Gretchen Reynolds breaks down the gaze-focusing technique that can help professional athletes and weekend warriors alike:
Quiet Eye training, as the name suggests, is an attempt to get people to stop flicking their focus around so much. But “Quiet Eye training is not just about looking at the ball,” says Mark Wilson, who led the study, published in Psychophysiology, and is a senior lecturer in human movement science at the University of Exeter in England. “It is about looking at the ball for long enough to process aiming information.” It involves reminding players to first briefly sight toward the exact spot where they wish to send the ball, and then settle their eyes onto the ball and hold them there.
This tight focus on the ball, Dr. Wilson says, blunts distracting mental chatter and allows the brain “to process the aiming information you just gathered” and direct the body in the proper motions to get the ball where you wish it to go.
Athletes who learned the Quiet Eye technique seemed to have quieter, more focused minds, resulting in lower heart rates, less muscle twitchiness, and less anxiety while performing their activity.
Let me know if this helps your golf game!
Read Gretchen Reynold’s article at NYTimes.com here.