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Nat Neurosci. 2000 Dec;3(12):1340-5.

From eye movements to actions: how batsmen hit the ball.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QG, UK.


In cricket, a batsman watches a fast bowler's ball come toward him at a high and unpredictable speed, bouncing off ground of uncertain hardness. Although he views the trajectory for little more than half a second, he can accurately judge where and when the ball will reach him. Batsmen's eye movements monitor the moment when the ball is released, make a predictive saccade to the place where they expect it to hit the ground, wait for it to bounce, and follow its trajectory for 100-200 ms after the bounce. We show how information provided by these fixations may allow precise prediction of the ball's timing and placement. Comparing players with different skill levels, we found that a short latency for the first saccade distinguished good from poor batsmen, and that a cricket player's eye movement strategy contributes to his skill in the game.

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