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The authors studied gaze behaviors in high- and intermediate-skill tennis players while they performed tennis serve returns. Participants returned 40 serves in 4 serve locations while wearing a mobile eye tracker. The ball’s flight path was deconstructed into 3 distinct locations (i.e., ball before bouncing on surface, the bounce area, and ball after bouncing on surface), and gaze behaviors along with quiet-eye (QE) onset and durations were recorded. Results revealed that (a) high-skill players exhibited better return shots than their lower skill counterparts, (b) high-skill players and high-score shots were characterized by longer fixation durations on the ball at prebounce, and (c) longer QE durations were observed for high-skill players and high-score shots. Findings provide valuable insight into the relationship between gaze behaviors, QE, and performance in fast-pace interceptive sports.
Sáenz-Moncaleano and Tenenbaum are with Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL. Basevitch is with the Dept. of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom.