Soccer - Eye Focus of Elite Goalies During Penalty Shots

Soccer - Eye Focus of Elite Goalies During Penalty Shots

Dick Moss

In penalty kick situations, recent research has found that elite goalkeepers use their eyes differently than their inexperienced counterparts.

Differences in Eye Focus
Elite goalkeepers tend to fix their eyes on one area of the shooter and use peripheral vision around that point to identify the cues that will reveal the direction of the kick.

Inexperienced goalkeepers, on the other hand, tend to constantly move their eyes around the shooter. It has been found that moving the eyes, instead of fixing them on a single location, produces a longer reaction time to the cues produced by the shooter. This is especially true if the eyes are moving away from the location of the cue.

Location of Focus
And what areas to elite keepers focus upon? During the shooter's approach the focus tends to be between the kicking shoulder and kicking leg, with cues from the shoulder, the kicking leg, and the support leg all being watched through peripheral vision.

As the kicking leg is being swung, the focus tends to narrow down to the area between the kicking leg, the ball, and the support leg.

Unsuccessful goalies tend to watch the area between the torso, the head and the arms,

Reference: Seonjin Kim, & Seungmin Lee (Seoul National University, Korea), "Gaze Behavior of Elite Soccer Goalkeeper in Successful Penalty Kick Defense." International Journal of Applied Sports Sciences, Vol. 18, No. I, 2006.


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