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PLoS One. 2014 Feb 12;9(2):e88536. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088536. eCollection 2014.

Two types of motor strategy for accurate dart throwing.

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  • 1Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan.

Abstract

This study investigated whether expert dart players utilize hand trajectory patterns that can compensate for the inherent variability in their release timing. In this study, we compared the timing error and hand trajectory patterns of expert players with those of novices. Eight experts and eight novices each made 60 dart throws, aiming at the bull's-eye. The movements of the dart and index finger were captured using seven 480-Hz cameras. The data were interpolated using a cubic spline function and analyzed by the millisecond. The estimated vertical errors on the dartboard were calculated as a time-series by using the state variables of the index finger (position, velocity, and direction of motion). This time-series error represents the hand trajectory pattern. Two variables assessing the performance outcome in the vertical plane and two variables related to the timing control were quantified on the basis of the time-series error. The results revealed two typical types of motor strategies in the expert group. The timing error of some experts was similar to that of novices; however, these experts had a longer window of time in which to release an accurately thrown dart. These subjects selected hand trajectory patterns that could compensate for the timing error. Other experts did not select the complementary hand trajectories, but greatly reduced their error in release timing.

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