Specific eye-movement patterns used by experts usually have three main features:
(a) Extended visual span;
(B) EFFICIENT VISUAL SEARCH RATE
(C) SELECTIVE ATTENTION ALLOCATION
HOW DO PLAYERS USE THEIR VISION DURING THE GAME?
It has been shown that experts are better and quicker in responding to sports related contexts then novices. Experts in sports extract more task relevant information from each eye fixation, implementing a visual strategy that allows more time to process task relevant cues
An extended visual span is essential for a global visual search to divert the attention to relevant object or area of interest.
Efficient visual search is determined by the ability to guide the attention toward relevant cues and the speed of rejecting the distracting stimulus.
The selection that guides our attention is based on the information stored in the long-term memory, as consequence of the task specific repetitions through years of deliberate practice and match situation experience.
The advantage of using the peripheral vision is that it can be applied to sport-specific dynamic multi task settings (detecting multiple information at the same time) without constraining the natural gaze behavior.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PERIPHERAL VISION IN TENNIS
Peripheral vision role is to find the objects of interest from a glance identifying the most relevant information from the many in the environment and to recognize the motion changes in the environment that could influence the player’s actions making decision.
Peripheral vision provides an indication of where the most important location may be for the next (or future) visual fixations
Object is initially detected within the visual field with peripheral vision, providing the information ‘where the relevant object’s location is’ in order to narrow the attention to these relevant sources of information in relation to the current context.
By identifying the object, the player can extract more information regarding ‘what the object is’ by bringing the stimulus into the foveal region of the retina, enabling the recognition of the essential informations.
In order to minimize delays of the perceptual-cognitive process, an important step is identification of the relevant cues and ignoring the irrelevant ones
VISUAL SEARCH AND PERCEPTUAL-COGNITIVE RESPONSE
Many of the researchers have been interested in identifying to which visual cues experts attend the most and which visual research patterns and strategies are used by elite tennis players while helping them to minimize delays in perceptual - cognitive - motor processing and by that maximize the levels of anticipation, efficiency and initiation of movement
Due to the years of experience of deliberate, purposeful practice and playing in a time-stressed environment, an expert should develop the ability to recognize certain patterns of game and direct the gaze towards important informative areas
Gazing helps extracting meaningful cues from the environment and provides data for predictive judgment of the opponent’s intentions, anticipating the action outcomes based on the movements of the players