There are a limited number of studies focusing on the mechanisms explaining why variable practice gives an advantage in a novel situation and constant practice in performance in trained conditions. We hypothesized that this may be due to the different gaze behavior that is developed under different conditions. Twenty participants, randomly assigned to two different groups, practiced basketball free throws for three consecutive days, performing 100 throws per day. The constant group (n
= 10) practiced at a free throw distance (4.57 m) only. The variable practice group (n
= 10) randomly performed 20 shots per five throw distances (3.35, 3.96, 4.57, 5.18, and 5.79 m) on each day, also accumulating 100 shots per day. We analyzed the total gaze fixation duration, a number of fixations, and the average fixation duration on a basketball rim in a pretest and posttest at the 4.57 m distance. We computed a linear mixed model with test (pretest–posttest), group (constant–variable), and test × group interaction in order to analyze the total fixation duration and number of fixations. The average fixation duration was analyzed with a repeated measure two-way ANOVA, with practice conditions as a between-participants factor and test type as a within-participants factor. We found that the total fixation duration increased significantly in the posttest, regardless of the practice conditions (p
< 0.001, effect size = 0.504). The number of fixations also increased significantly in the posttest (p
= 0.037, effect size = 0.246). The average fixation duration increased in both groups; however, insignificantly. We also did not find any significant differences between groups. Our results suggest that variable and constant practice conditions may lead to the development of similar gaze behavior.
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