Using a Quiet Eye is the Key to Improving Target Accuracy

How long is your target gaze?

A great deal of information is emerging from the world of sport science research that can better inform bowlers and bowling coaches. These findings have important implications in providing critical guidance on improving our methods and practices in an effort to increase performance levels and promote more consistent repeatability in shotmaking.

Unfortunately, at this time, we must borrow from research conducted on other sports and extrapolate the findings to bowling. But, these research studies that reveal similar findings over and over from a variety of sports is reliable enough to adapt to our needs.

One of the most exciting areas of research currently being conducted is the relationship of eye gaze time, targeting, and performance levels. Dr. Joan Vickers, Director of the Neuro-Motor Psychology Laboratory at the University of Calgary, is conducting research on targeting in sports that is revealing intriguing secrets of how elite athletes utilize their eyes to target in a number of sports including golf, hockey, and tennis.

Specifically, this research informs us where to best target with our eyes and how long to actually fix our gaze on our target. And, the research is providing insight in targeting proficiency that will allow more novice players to alter their targeting to improve performance. Accordingly, it can inform the global tenpin bowling community on the most effective targeting methods.

In her research, Vickers uses a head-mounted digital eye tracker. This device literally tracks all movement of the eyes and provides insight into where athletes are looking. Through a study of several sports, Vickers discovered that there are significant differences between how elite athletes use their eyes for targeting as compared to less skilled players. Specifically, elite athletes have far less eye movements in their targeting and have a longer sustained gaze on their targets.

In simple terms, a skilled athlete focuses more on their target and maintains a lock on their target for a longer period of time. Intuitively, this is not surprising. Yet, less skilled athletes do not realize that they are actually not looking at their target as long or that they are looking all around rather than on their target. When asked, they respond believing they have maintained their target gaze. But, when a review of the video showing where ...



Joe Slowinski

About Joe Slowinski

Joe Slowinski, a USBC Gold Coach, is the Director of Bowling at Lincoln Memorial University, where he serves as program administrator and Head USBC Collegiate men’s and NCAA women’s coach. The Portland, Maine native has served as the Administrative and Men's Head Coach at Webber International University and served for four years as a Master Teaching Professional at the Kegel Training Center. Slowinski is also the former Director of Coaching and Coach Certification for the National Sports Council of Malaysia. He has coached international teams at the World Championships, Pan American Games, South American Games, and European Championships. He was the 2018 NTCA DII/III Coach of the Year and the 2010 NCBCA Men’s College Coach of the Year.