What does it mean to “quiet eyes” when aiming a shooting a pool shot, and why is it helpful?
“Quiet eyes” refers to focusing on a target with still eyes for a period of time. Studies have shown that top athletes in many sport activities (e.g., golf putting and basketball free-throws) do this. When the eyes are moving and/or are not focused long enough on a well-defined target point, line, or area, performance has been shown to be not as good. Various “quiet eye” resources can be found here:
- Why Athletes Need a Quiet Eye (David Robson, 2018).
- PBS documentary featuring the importance of quiet eyes in sports (2002).
- “Quiet Eye Duration, Expertise, and Task Complexity in Near and Far Aiming Tasks,” study by Williams, Singer, and Frehlich (2002).
Keeping your eyes “quiet” both in the set position (while looking at both the CB and at the target, separately), and during the final swing (while looking at the target) is important for consistency and accuracy. Pauses give your eyes time to settle and become quiet. In the set position, you want to alternately verify both the desired tip contact point on the CB (with quiet eyes) and the aiming line and target (with quiet eyes). And before starting your final forward swing (e.g., during the final back-swing or back-swing pause), you want to have quiet eyes and complete focus on your target point (e.g., the GB center, the OB contact point, a point on the rail, etc.).
The following research study also looked at potential correlations between vision attributes and pool-playing performance: “Perceptual-Motor Characteristics of Elite Performers in Aiming Sports” by Abernethy and Neal (1992). The study concluded that there is no correlation between various optimetric measures (dominant eye, depth perception, phoria, fixational disparity, etc.) and pool-playing performance.