Visual tracking speed is related to basketball-specific measures of performance in NBA players

J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Sep;28(9):2406-14. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000550.


The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between visual tracking speed (VTS) and reaction time (RT) on basketball-specific measures of performance. Twelve professional basketball players were tested before the 2012-13 season. Visual tracking speed was obtained from 1 core session (20 trials) of the multiple object tracking test, whereas RT was measured by fixed- and variable-region choice reaction tests, using a light-based testing device. Performance in VTS and RT was compared with basketball-specific measures of performance (assists [AST]; turnovers [TO]; assist-to-turnover ratio [AST/TO]; steals [STL]) during the regular basketball season. All performance measures were reported per 100 minutes played. Performance differences between backcourt (guards; n = 5) and frontcourt (forward/centers; n = 7) positions were also examined. Relationships were most likely present between VTS and AST (r = 0.78; p < 0.003), STL (r = 0.77; p < 0.003), and AST/TO (r = 0.78; p < 0.003), whereas a likely relationship was also observed with TO (r = 0.49; p < 0.109). Reaction time was not related to any of the basketball-specific performance measures. Backcourt players were most likely to outperform frontcourt players in AST and very likely to do so for VTS, TO, and AST/TO. In conclusion, VTS seems to be related to a basketball player's ability to see and respond to various stimuli on the basketball court that results in more positive plays as reflected by greater number of AST and STL and lower turnovers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Basketball / classification
  • Basketball / physiology*
  • Basketball / statistics & numerical data
  • Eye Movement Measurements
  • Eye Movements
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reaction Time*
  • Visual Perception
  • Young Adult