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Journal Articles PLoS ONE Year : 2022

Visual tracking assessment in a soccer-specific virtual environment: A web-based study


The ability to track teammates and opponents is an essential quality to achieve a high level of performance in soccer. The visual tracking ability is usually assessed in the laboratory with non-sport specific scenarios, leading in two major concerns. First, the methods used probably only partially reflects the actual ability to track players on the field. Second, it is unclear whether the situational features manipulated to stimulate visual tracking ability match those that make it difficult to track real players. In this study, participants had to track multiple players on a virtual soccer field. The virtual players moved according to either real or pseudo-random trajectories. The experiment was conducted online using a web application. Regarding the first concern, the visual tracking performance of players in soccer, other team sports, and non-team sports was compared to see if differences between groups varied with the use of soccer-specific or pseudo-random movements. Contrary to our assumption, the ANOVA did not reveal a greater tracking performance difference between soccer players and the two other groups when facing stimuli featuring movements from actual soccer games compared to stimuli featuring pseudo-random ones. Directing virtual players with real-world trajectories did not appear to be sufficient to allow soccer players to use soccer-specific knowledge in their visual tracking activity. Regarding the second concern, an original exploratory analysis based on Hierarchical Clustering on Principal Components was conducted to compare the situational features associated with hard-to-track virtual players in soccer-specific or pseudorandom movements. It revealed differences in the situational feature sets associated with hard-to-track players based on movement type. Essentially with soccer-specific movements, how the virtual players were distributed in space appeared to have a significant influence on visual tracking performance. These results highlight the need to consider real-world scenarios to understand what makes tracking multiple players difficult.
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hal-03775417 , version 1 (12-09-2022)




Alexandre Vu, Anthony Sorel, Charles Faure, Antoine Aurousseau, Benoit Bideau, et al.. Visual tracking assessment in a soccer-specific virtual environment: A web-based study. PLoS ONE, 2022, 17 (6), pp.0269643. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0269643⟩. ⟨hal-03775417⟩
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