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Perception, Cognition, and Decision Training

Perception, Cognition, and Decision Training

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    Athletes must be able to make split-second decisions under the pressures of competition, but often this vital learning is left to chance. With Perception, Cognition, and Decision Training: The Quiet Eye in Action, readers gain access to the research foundations behind an innovative decision-training system that has been used successfully for years in training athletes.

    Certain to become the definitive guide to decision making in sport, this text presents three innovations solidly based in research. The first is the vision-in-action method of recording what athletes actually see when they perform. The second is the quiet eye phenomenon that has attracted considerable media attention. The third innovation is decision training to identify not only how athletes make performance decisions but also how to facilitate visual perception and action to enhance performance. Author Joan Vickers—who discovered the quiet eye and developed the vision-in-action method—takes the next step by integrating all three innovations into a system for helping athletes improve. Together, these advances provide scientific evidence of the effectiveness of perception–action coupling in athletes' training.

    Perception, Cognition, and Decision Training: The Quiet Eye in Action is applied to a variety of sports and settings through a three-step decision-training model and seven ready-to-use tools for encouraging athletes to become part of the decision-training process. These tools are research-based concepts that coaches can choose from in order to help train athletes on a specific decision-making task in a simulated competition context. The book also uses these features:

    -Informative chapter-opening items provide an overview of the content, and special sections recap the previous chapter and introduce the next.

    -Screen captures from the latest in eye-tracking technology show what athletes actually see, where their eyes are directed, and how their gaze differs depending on their ability level.

    -Boldfaced key terms and a thorough glossary make it easy to identify key concepts in this emerging field of study.

    -Chapter-closing in-action sections provide an opportunity to visit Web sites, read articles, or complete tasks to discover how the concepts learned can be applied.

    -Case studies show how coaches and athletes in various sports have successfully used gaze control and decision training.
    The book is organized into three parts. Part I introduces the visuomotor system and two processing systems that work together to permit the great range of actions humans perform. Eye-tracking technology is reviewed along with new possibilities for measuring what athletes really see when they perform. In part II, the author presents a unique framework of gaze control. Readers will learn how skilled athletes control the gaze to gain optimal control of their attention and decision making. The quiet eye phenomenon, measurement, and training are also addressed.
    Part III describes the three-step decision-training model and its application to how coaches design practice, provide feedback, use questions, and give instructions. Case studies show how others are using the model and the seven decision-training tools.

    Decision training is designed to improve athletes' attention, anticipation, concentration, memory, and problem-solving skills, leading to extraordinary long-term gains. The cutting-edge research presented in this book allows readers to appreciate the growing importance of cognition, vision, and decision making; it also shows them how to apply this knowledge to sport training and coaching.


    Professional reference for sport coaches, researchers, professors of motor learning, sport pedagogy specialists, and cognitive psychologists. Text for undergraduate and graduate courses in motor behavior, sport psychology and sport pedagogy, and cognitive psychology.

    Table of Contents


    Visuomotor Coordination
    Three Categories of Gaze Control
    The Quiet Eye
    Summary of Theoretical Orientation

    Part I. Visual Perception, Cognition, and Action

    Chapter 1. Visual System, Motor Control, and the Changing Brain
    Visual System
    Properties of the Gaze in Space
    Neural Centers of the Brain
    Changes in the Brain

    Chapter 2. Measuring What Athletes See
    What Do Athletes See?
    Eye-Tracking Technology Today
    Visual-Search Paradigm
    Vision-in-Action Paradigm
    Interpreting Vision-in-Action Data

    Chapter 3. Visual Attention and Gaze Control
    Information-Processing Time
    What Is Visual Attention?
    Control of the Gaze and Overt and Covert Attention
    Visual Attention and Representation of the World

    Part II. Gaze Control and the Quiet Eye in Sport

    Chapter 4. Gaze Control Framework
    Three Categories of Gaze Control
    Four Factors That Affect Gaze Control

    Chapter 5. Gaze Control to a Single Fixed Target
    Has Targeting Contributed to a Bigger Brain?
    Gaze Control in the Basketball Free Throw
    Gaze Control in the Jump Shot
    Quiet Eye in the Free Throw and Jump Shot
    Quiet-Eye Training in Basketball Shooting
    Quiet Eye and EEG in Rifle Shooting
    Quiet Eye in Biathlon Shooting Under Pressure

    Chapter 6. Gaze Control in Abstract-Target and Moving-Target Tasks
    Gaze Control in Golf Putting
    Quiet-Eye Training in Golf
    Quiet Eye in Billiards
    Gaze Control in Moving-Target Tasks
    Interpreting the Quiet-Eye Period in Targeting Tasks

    Chapter 7. Gaze Control in Interceptive Timing Tasks
    Interceptive Timing Tasks Defined
    Object Recognition: Anticipating Object Flight
    Object Tracking: Reading a Moving Object
    Object Tracking and Object Control: Hitting Targets in Table Tennis
    Object Recognition, Object Tracking, and Object Control
    Quiet-Eye Training in the Volleyball Serve Reception
    Relationship Between Gaze Control and Verbal Reports
    Gaze Control in Ice Hockey Goaltending

    Chapter 8. Gaze Control in Tactical Tasks
    What Are Tactical Tasks?
    Visual-Spatial Intelligence
    Tenenbaum's Context and Target Control Model
    Klein's Recognition-Primed Model of Decision Making
    Gaze Control During Locomotion
    Gaze Control During Set and Novel Plays

    Part III. Decision Training in Sport

    Chapter 9. Decision-Training Model
    Four Foundations of Decision Training
    Paradox of Modern Motor Learning Research
    Three-Step Decision-Training Model
    Evidence Showing the Effectiveness of Decision Training

    Chapter 10. Designing Practices With a Decision-Training Focus
    DT Tool 1: Variable Practice (Smart Variations)
    DT Tool 2: Random Practice (Smart Combinations)
    Research Support for Variable and Random Practice
    Variable and Random Practice in the Sport Setting
    Example 1: Decision Training in Badminton Tactics
    Example 2: Decision Training in Freestyle Ski Jumping
    Example 3: Decision Training in Golf Putting

    Chapter 11. Providing Feedback With a Decision-Training Focus
    Feedback Defined
    DT Tool 3: Bandwidth Feedback
    DT Tool 4: Questioning
    Research Support for Bandwidth Feedback and Questioning
    DT Tool 5: Video Feedback and Self-Regulation
    Example 1: Decision Training in Biathlon Skiing
    Example 2: Decision Training in Counseling

    Chapter 12. Providing Instruction With a Decision-Training Focus
    DT Tool 6: Hard-First Instruction and Modeling
    Does Modeling Improve Performance?
    DT Tool 7: External Focus of Instruction
    Example 1: Decision Training in Cycle Racing
    Example 2: Decision Training in Speed Skating

    Additional Quiet Eye and Decision Training Resources
    About the Author

    About the Author

    Joan N. Vickers, PhD, is a researcher who has been conducting research in gaze control and motor behavior in sport since 1980. From her research, she originated the vision-in-action method, discovered the quiet eye, and developed decision training. Vickers' work has been featured on CNN, with Alan Alda on PBS, and in Golf Digest. She is currently a kinesiology professor at the University of Calgary where she also provides decision training as a professional certification.

    Dr. Vickers previously wrote Instructional Design for Teaching Physical Activity, is a reviewer for many journals, and is a member of the North American Society for Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) and other professional organizations. An internationally known speaker, she has introduced and taught decision training throughout Canada, and many sport organizations in Canada have adopted the approach.