Experts Appear to Use Angle of Elevation Information in Basketball Shooting

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Abstract

For successful basketball shooting, players must use information about the location of the basket relative to themselves. In this study, the authors examined to what extent shooting performance depends on the absolute distance to the basket (m) and the angle of elevation (α). In Experiment 1, expert players took jump shots under different visual conditions (light, one dot glowing on the rim in the dark, and dark). Task performance was satisfactory under the one-dot condition, suggesting that m and α provided sufficient information during movement execution. In Experiment 2, expert wheelchair basketball players performed shots binocularly and monocularly, under one-dot and light conditions. Performance under the one-dot condition was similar binocularly and monocularly, suggesting that distance information was not crucial for the online control of shooting. In Experiment 3, experts took jump shots under light, one-dot, and dark conditions while the basket's height was varied between trials unbeknownst to the participants. Players relied on α in combination with the official basket's height to guide their shooting actions. In conclusion, basketball shooting appears to be based predominantly on angle of elevation information.

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