Sports

The Quiet Eye

If you think about any outstanding sports person you know, he or she most probably has developed the quiet eye. The quiet eye is defined as the stare behaviour of the eye just before movement, particularly when an activity requires a pinpoint aim. It is the concentration and focus of the eye particularly when an activity or task requires inch-perfect accuracy. It is a focus void of distractions and noise. It is what researchers have discovered distinguishes top grade performers from the rest of the pack.

Studies have been conducted on sports men and women to see the role the quiet eye plays in winning. In an experiment conducted by Joan Vickers in the University of British Columbia, she connected a group of professional golfers to a device that precisely monitored their eye movements as they putted their balls. She discovered that the greatest athletes kept their eye on the ball longer than others did, no matter the pressure they felt. The same is said for other elite athletes in other sports such as basketball, football, tennis and archery, who have been studied. They keep their eyes on the goal or target longer than others who tend to have fixations lasting for shorter periods of time.

Most of us would probably have one or more favourite sport personalities, that is, if you have any interest in sports. Most likely, we love these people because of the successes they have achieved or the uniqueness they bring to the sport.

Every athlete or sports person will tell you about the discipline, pain, sweat of competing and the joy of winning. They would also tell you about the power of focus and how important it is to block out all distractions for the big moment. They know what it means to be ‘in the zone’.

We may not all be athletes or sports aficionados but we can use the quiet eye. I consider the quiet eye as the sum of all we do just before we make a significant move or decision. It could be making a business decision, writing an exam or pitching an idea. We need the highest level of concentration and focus to hit the mark. Lucidity and precision are usually the end results of the quiet eye.

The quiet eye stays calmly focused on the goal or target irrespective of the pressure, stress or distraction around. The quiet eyes stays unusually composed and comfortable.

It is easier to stay focused when we do not feel much pressure. The problem comes when we are agitated, anxious, or under stress. At such moments, our concentration wanes and we tend to lose focus.

Think about what the quiet eye could mean to you and how you can apply it in shots you have to take in life. It could be taking time away from the crowd as you prepare for that major task, blocking out the anxious thoughts, mediating on the scriptures, shutting out social media distractions in that moment or maintaining a quiet mien just before your big moment. It could also be repeating a routine over and over again until you know that you are completely focused on the goal at hand.

You can get your mental gaze or stare under control to give you high performance results that distinguish you and your outcomes.