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Saccades and Fixations


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Saccades are the type of eye movement used to move the fovea rapidly from one point of interest to another. The fovea is a small depression in the retina where visual acuity is highest. It has the most retinal cones (color vision daylight vision). Fixation is the period of time the eye spends on the target image processing the information. 

USPSA shooters use saccades to track the sights of our pistols. They are predictable and either verticle in sight tracking or horizontal in transitions. 

I recently got an android phone and text on it a moderate amount. It cause my eyes to move in rapid unpredictable patterns unlike sight tracking. I have also begun to study other people on their phones and noticed that they exhibit random unpredictable saccades while texting also.I watch their eyes after they've been on facebook and/or texting and they continue to exhibit random saccades for a period of time. Alot like people with ADHD who move the eyes too quickly when fixation is necessary. Unexplained Alpha Mike?

I have since avoided the phone whenever possible and leave it in the car when shooting. Losing my ability to focus and track the sights is a bad thing. I wonder how many shooters are stuck in C and D class because of this?

Then there's the question of shooting at night when the cones in the eye are useless and you must use the part of the retina with the rods (night vision).

I've been training since moving my eyes vertically and horizontally from spot to spot to keep my ability to track the sights and avoid the phone like the plague at shoots. Putting spots left and right and up and down on the sides of the computer screen helps me ignore distractions as I shift my eyes.

Just some thoughts.


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Another excuse at the ready when I totally embarass myself on a stage.  Or better still.   

I'm going to a shoot.  At a shoot.  Having a bite after a shoot.  Soooo don't call me, email or text me.  nada.  You will ruin my shoot woman! 😀


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  • 2 weeks later...
The score pad doesn't require you to concentrate and constantly flip back and forth. I have come up in Single Stack lately. From 69% to 71%, 75%, 79% on the last classifiers.
Came up a few percentage points overall at matches too.

It would be interesting to avoid all screens on match day until after the match and see what the results are. I remember being told by a soccer coach when I was younger not to watch TV on game day because he read that people perform better when they don’t watch TV.

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