If you watch anything in foreign language, here's simple trick for you.
When subtitles are on all the time, then your (mine at least) eyes constantly swivel down to text, so that you're bound to miss something. On the other hand, you might misheard or misunderstand and take a peek in subtitles. Here's how I've decided to deal with it: set subtitle delay to a couple of seconds and turn them off. In case of emergency^Wneed to consult them, just turn them on again, by that time the desired moment would appear on screen. How to do it in mplayer:
select subtitle with j key;
set delay with z;
turn off subtitles by pressing v, then use it again to turn them on/off.