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Quiet Eye: Aim Small Miss Small

“Quiet eye” is something that I’ve been studying in the field of visual attention and gaze control.  Quiet eye is also the “aim small miss small” approach but this is applies mostly to visual attention not gaze control.
The research shows that elite performers don’t look around as much and their eyes rest on the objective sooner than near-elite performers.  What this suggests, among action shooters, is that a higher level of performance is obtained from getting the eyes on the next target sooner .
These studies chose athletes with the same physical abilities so any differences in performance had to be in something other than their physical conditioning.  The idea of “shooting faster” especially with splits does not give much improvement, which we have seen a lot of.  It is where we spend the most time is where we can gain the most.  Remember when Dean first started training us and there’d be a shooter with really quick splits but transitions took an eternity?  That seems so long ago!  Our splits and transitions are as fast as distinguished masters so we must refine other skills to increase performance.
“Waiting for the sights to arrive” is a desired condition I go for with transitions which take way longer than splits.  I believe this promotes “quiet eye” and as a side effect we start to “feel” like we’re going slow.  We are keeping “ahead of the gun” which means we can anticipate what is going to happen.
Anticipation can be approached in two different ways.  We can hand it off to the subconscious by not acting on it or we can interrupt the flow and consciously intervene.  Something like calling a bad shot and sending another can be a conscious decision.  I think it is best when the shot is called and the decision is “send another” and then it goes back to the subconscious to actually break the shot.
So when we transition we consciously look for the edge of the down zero.  We tell our subconscious send the shot any time after the sights cross that perf.  For the second shot we don’t have the feeling of actually stopping on the down zero and we just slow down waiting for the subconscious to send the next shot consciously keeping it on the down zero. This is a classic A-I-O-I situation.  Visual attention is at work here and the two conscious targets are the two sides of the down zero.  This is called a tactical task where diverse information is processed.
Another quiet eye related technique is keeping the gun closer to the central vision or “keeping the gun up” and looking at the edge of cover.  These promote fewer saccades, moving the eyes around, which means that the final targeting can be completed sooner allowing the shot to happen sooner.
From my reference: “Chunking occurs in memory when diverse pieces of information are consolidated into meaningful concepts, ideas, or sequences of thought or actions.  Because elite athletes have richer knowledge structures, they are able to orient their gaze to the center of the display and use their peripheral vision to control and monitor the action.  Other have referred to this location as visual pivot.”
In other words when coming round cover you look at the spot on the edge of cover at the same level that the targets will appear, visual pivot.  Your eyes can quickly lock onto the target and since we’re keeping the gun up the sights arrive quickly.
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