Visual gaze behaviour during free-kicks in football

Sten Schaper*, Lisanne van der Kaaden, Vosse de Boode, Geert Savelsbergh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Visual gaze behaviour, and in particular Quiet Eye (QE), have been found to be important in aiming tasks in multiple sports. The aim of this study is to provide insight into the characteristics of gaze behaviour in a moving condition, that is of football players during the run-up and kick of free kicks. Fourteen skilled youth players performed a set of free-kick trials while their eyes were being tracked. Two QE periods have been determined prior to a critical phase of the kick: QE Target and QE Ball. For the scored trials both the QE Target (M = 886 ms SE = 78 ms) and QE Ball (M = 627 ms SE = 52 ms) duration were significantly longer than in the missed trials, QE Target (M = 488 ms SE = 45 ms) and QE Ball (M = 513 ms SE = 80 ms). The analysis of the number of fixations suggests that one fixation on a target is the optimum, and more (2-3x) or no fixations resulted in less accurate shooting. These results provide insight into the characteristics of football shooting that can be incorporated into shooting practice in order to improve performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-661
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Science and Coaching
Issue number5-6
Early online date23 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Association football, eye fixation, quiet eye, soccer


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