In ball games, players have to pay close attention to visual information in order to predict the movements of both the opponents and the ball. Previous studies have indicated that players primarily utilise cues concerning the ball and opponents' body motion. The information acquired must be effective for observing players to select the subsequent action. The present study evaluated the effects of changes in the video replay speed on the spatial visual search strategy and ability to predict free throw success. We compared eye movements made while observing a basketball free throw by novices and experienced basketball players. Correct response rates were close to chance (50%) at all video speeds for the novices. The correct response rate of experienced players was significantly above chance (and significantly above that of the novices) at the normal speed, but was not different from chance at both slow and fast speeds. Experienced players gazed more on the lower part of the player's body when viewing a normal speed video than the novices. The players likely detected critical visual information to predict shot success by properly moving their gaze according to the shooter's movements. This pattern did not change when the video speed was decreased, but changed when it was increased. These findings suggest that temporal information is important for predicting action outcomes and that such outcomes are sensitive to video speed.
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