15 male basketball players with a minimum of 10 years playing experience were selected as participants. Each was assigned to one of three groups (occlusion, practice, control). Each group completed a pre, post, retention and transfer test. They were required to perform 10 trials of a dribble sequence (dribble, dribble, crossover) which totalled 30 bounces for the pre, post and retention test. The transfer test was a variation of the dribble sequence performed in previous tests. The occlusion and practice groups completed a 400-trial training intervention over 4 days consisting of 100 trials per day. The occlusion group wore the CU Sports goggles during the training intervention thereby removing their vision of the ball bounce characteristics. The practice group completed the same number of practice trials as the occlusion group however the practice group did not wear the CU Sports goggles during the intervention. The control group completed the tests only.
A 3-group x 3-test ANOVA was conducted to measure the impact of the training intervention on participants gaze behaviour. There was a significant main effect for gaze behaviour fixations (0.002) and a significant interaction effect between group and fixations (0.001). Moreover, there was a significant change in fixations for the occlusion group from pre-test (M = 14.80 fixations, SD = 4.21) to post test (M = 4.80 fixations, SD = 1.64) indicating an acquisition effect and a similar effect in the retention test (M = 4.60 fixations, SD = 0.55) indicating a learning effect. There was no significant change in gaze behaviour found for the practice or control groups.
As the results show, training with the CU Sport goggles positively impacts on the gaze behaviour of basketball players. This improvement in gaze behaviour means that players will be able to complete complex motor skills such as the basketball dribble while obtaining more visual information from the surrounding environment. Being able to attend to the action of the game while executing the basketball dribble allows for improved spatial awareness and decision making. In addition, this study provides evidence that the CU Sports goggles are an effective skill acquisition practice tool that may result in a positive transfer of skills from the training environment to game situations.
Future Research & Applications
The current study has revealed findings in favour of the CU Sport goggles to change gaze behaviour. However, future research could determine whether the CU Sport goggles also impact on kinematic changes in motor behaviour. In short, is there a skill benefit from wearing the CU Sport goggles? In addition, to determine the extent to which the CU Sport goggles transfer to the open, dynamic environment of a training session and ultimately a performance benefit in a match situation across multiple sports, further research is required. Moreover, the sport domain is only one application of many for where the CU Sport goggles could have a training and learning benefit. An interesting line of investigation would be in the medical domain, to determine the impact of the CU Sport goggles on enhancing the effectiveness of rehabilitation protocols for lower limb injuries such as ACL reconstruction (Benjaminse & Otten, 2011) and the neurorehabilitation processes for motor skill re-learning following a brain trauma (Kitago & Krakauer, 2013). These lines of investigation are within the research capacity of the team in CIT and we would be interested in continuing our partnership and strengthening our relationship with CU Sport in such an endeavour.
Skill Acquisition Research Group, Dept. of Sport, Leisure & Childhood Studies, Cork Institute of Technology.
Benjaminse, A., & Otten E. (2011). ACL injury prevention, more effective with a different way of motor learning? Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, 19, 622-627.
Kitago, T., & Krakauer, J. W. (2013). Motor learning principle for neurorehabilitation. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 110, 93-103.