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The importance of perceptual-cognitive expertise in sport has been repeatedly demonstrated.

In this study we examined the role of different sources of visual information (i.e., foveal versus peripheral) in anticipating volleyball attack positions.

Expert (n = 11), advanced (n = 13) and novice (n = 16) players completed an anticipation task that involved predicting the location of volleyball attacks. Video clips of volleyball attacks (n = 72) were spatially and temporally occluded to provide varying amounts of information to the participant.

In addition, participants viewed the attacks under three visual conditions: full vision, foveal vision only, and peripheral vision only. Analysis of variance revealed significant between group differences in prediction accuracy with higher skilled players performing better than lower skilled players. Additionally, we found significant differences between temporal and spatial occlusion conditions.

Both of those factors interacted separately, but not combined with expertise. Importantly, for experts the sum of both fields of vision was superior to either source in isolation. Our results suggest different sources of visual information work collectively to facilitate expert anticipation in time-constrained sports and reinforce the complexity of expert perception.