One of the ways in which a player might be able to improve his chances at making a free throw during a basketball tournament could be by tricking himself into thinking that the basket is bigger than it really is, a new study has suggested.
Purdue University’s psychological scientist Jessi Witt, who has played sports her whole life, started studying how perception relates to sports performance in graduate school.
“You hear about athletes making these comments like, oh, I was playing so well, everything seemed like it was moving in slow motion,” she said.
Much of her research has examined this effect-how people who are doing well at a sport seem to see the world differently. Softball and tennis players who are hitting well think the balls look bigger, for example.
That’s all very interesting, but everyone has the same question about her research, Witt said.
“When people interview me for all these sports things, they always want to know, ‘How do I get better?’ And I say, ‘I don’t know-I just study the perception.'”
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