BACKGROUND - The goalkeeper’s role in soccer has evolved beyond traditional shot-blocking to include active participation in tactical components of the game. This expanded role emphasizes the goalkeeper’s ability to detect changes rapidly and accurately during open play, which is vital for effective decision-making and perception-action coupling during matches. Skilled perception-action coupling during goalkeeping involves the systematic discovery, exploration, and exploitation of visual information to guide on-field behavior. By analyzing visual search strategies (VSS) and specific perception-action variables (e.g., Quiet Eye (QE)), the coach, practitioner, and researcher may enhance the goalkeeper’s effectiveness in executing their multifaceted role in modern soccer. The purpose of this study was to understand and identify a range of perception-action coupling measures including VSS and the QE that may underpin saving and subsequent distributive actions in skilled women’s soccer goalkeepers during different scenarios. We expected to see a shorter QE and fewer total eye movements performed when the goalkeeper made a save as compared to allowing a goal, representative of expert goalkeeper performance. METHODS - 3 NCAA Division I women’s soccer goalkeepers were tasked with making a save within a shooter vs. goalkeeper in situ dyadic system (1v1) to replicate the demands of the modern goalkeeper’s performance environment. Goalkeepers were fitted with a head-mounted eye-tracking system which recorded eye movements. VSS and movement phases were collected and analyzed via a custom Vision-In-Action system. Trials were performed until each goalie accrued a total of 5 saves. RESULTS - Results showed the average QE duration for saves (200.4 ± 150.2 ms) was significantly shorter than the QE duration for a goal (248.5 ± 95.7 ms; t = 9.34, p = 0.03). When assessing VSS no statistically significant difference was found between the count of eye movements when a save was made compared to when a goal was scored (count/trial: 12 ± 5 vs 16 ± 7, respectively; p = 0.19). CONCLUSIONS -Our results agree with previous literature regarding the QE and VSS within a tactical sport setting. Thus, we further support the notion of the QE and VSS emerging as potential variables to assess a goalkeeper’s perception-action coupling and extend its relation to performance within a tactical scenario.

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