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J Sports Sci Med. 2009 Dec 1;8(4):501-8. eCollection 2009.

Does the Level of Graphical Detail of a Virtual Handball Thrower Influence a Goalkeeper's Motor Response?

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M2S Laboratory, UFR APS, Rennes 2-ENS Cachan University , Rennes, France.


The authors investigated how different levels of detail (LODs) of a virtual throwing action can influence a handball goalkeeper's motor response. Goalkeepers attempted to stop a virtual ball emanating from five different graphical LODs of the same virtual throwing action. The five levels of detail were: a textured reference level (L0), a non-textured level (L1), a wire-frame level (L2), a point-light-display (PLD) representation (L3) and a PLD level with reduced ball size (L4). For each motor response made by the goalkeeper we measured and analyzed the time to respond (TTR), the percentage of successful motor responses, the distance between the ball and the closest limb (when the stopping motion was incorrect) and the kinematics of the motion. Results showed that TTR, percentage of successful motor responses and distance with the closest limb were not significantly different for any of the five different graphical LODs. However the kinematics of the motion revealed that the trajectory of the stopping limb was significantly different when comparing the L1 and L3 levels, and when comparing the L1 and L4 levels. These differences in the control of the goalkeeper's actions suggests that the different level of information available in the PLD representations (L3 and L4) are causing the goalkeeper to adopt different motor strategies to control the approach of their limb to stop the ball. Key pointsVirtual reality technology can be used to analyze sport performance because it enables standardization and reproduction of sport situations.Defining a minimal graphical level of detail of a virtual action could decrease the real time calculation of a virtual reality system.A Point Light Display graphical representation of a virtual throwing motion seems to influence the regulation of action of real handball goalkeepers.


Virtual reality; level of detail; motor response; time to respond


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