BEING A GREAT ATHLETE REQUIRES GREAT VISION
Imagine the visual performance required to track a major league fastball hurdling towards the plate at 130 feet per second (around 1/6th the speed of a bullet). In the world of competitive sport, sometimes 2020 vision is just not enough.
For professional or semi professional athletes vision training is becoming another tool for those who are looking to stand out and excel at their sport.
As Mark Blumenkranz, a professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University Medical School says:
“Vision training has been out there for a long time but it’s being made more respectable lately thanks to the attention it’s been getting from psychophysicists, vision scientists, neurologists and optometrists.”
What Does The Research Say About Sports Vision Training?
A study done on the baseball team at the University of California Riverside, attempted to see if the effects of Vision Training were noticeable in real life applications. The atheletes were able to improve by 30 percent their reading of eye charts — as well as their batting averages — after completing more than two dozen 25-minute vision training sessions using a computer program. According to the study “trained players showed improved vision after training, had decreased strike-outs, and created more runs”.
A study of the University of Cincinnati baseball team showed drastic improvement in the batting averages of players following six weeks of various kinds of vision training. The team batting average went up 34 points from the previous season, exceeding improvements of other N.C.A.A. teams. Errors decreased by 15 percent, while fielding assists increased 8 percent. Across all tracked batting parameters, vision training showed improvements of 10% or more.
Vision Training Works For All Sports
There have been many smaller studies tracking the benefit of Vision Training for Athletes from many different sports. Some of the sports that have shown improvement of performance are: Hockey, Table Tennis, and Golf, Rugby, Soccer, Tennis. For sports with rapid movements, the athletes who have undergone sports vision training have a significant advantage over their competition.
Sports Vision Enhancement Training can optimize the following skills:
- eye movement precision
- peripheral awareness
- target localization
- visual discrimination
- eye-hand coordination
- vision-balance integration
- visual reaction time
- depth perception
- distance estimation
What Is Sports Vision Training?
The common misconception about Sports Vision Training is that it is similar to glasses or contact lenses. Our Eye Doctor Dr. Coleman explains “Unlike glasses which fix a problem with the performance of your eyes, vision training is for people who may have perfect vision but want to improve their brains ability to process what they see instantly”. Using simple techniques and exercises, the visual sensory neurons are activated causing connections to occur, and like regular muscles the more you use the muscle the better and faster it will perform.
What Must Your Training Be Personalized?
Inconsistent or inaccurate performance is usually not due to an incorrect physical movement once properly coached. Poor performance is usually due to the movement being performed at the wrong time or place. Superior strength, ability or speed cannot make up for inefficient processing of information of the “where” and “when.” The visual system summarizes what is seen, then tells the brain to activate the muscles to execute a motor action. Vision directs the intelligent movement of the body (the eyes lead the body). The more accurate the visual system can take in and process visual information, the more accurate it can direct appropriate motor movement.
If the eyes are not exact in what they see or perceive, no amount of emphasis on mechanics will make up for visual inadequacies such as misreading the court, field or green (visual discrimination, visual figure-ground), misperceiving the alignment (eye tracking, eye teaming, focusing) or the speed at which the ball needs to be hit (visualization, depth perception, eye-hand coordination). The accuracy and consistency of visual information determines the timing and accuracy of the motor action.
What Happens When Your Visual System Is Inaccurate?
- Ball not always seen clearly
- Over or under-estimating the distance of the ball
- Difficulty making a specific "shot," "pass" or "play"
- Performance in competition deteriorates late in the game or under stress
- Making similar mistakes again and again
- Inconsistent performance
You CAN optimize your visual skills through training! Don't let an inefficient visual system affect your game.
Summary About Vision Training:
- 20/20 is NOT enough! Just having “normal” 20/20 eyesight and decent eye-hand coordination are not enough to maintain consistent superior athletic performance during practice or “peak” performances.
- Why sports performance suffers: Most sports rely heavily on visual impact. The eye leads and the body follows. Many athletes don’t realize that their visual systems give inaccurate and/or incomplete information causing their performance to be lower than their potential.
- Superior athletes require a highly precise and aligned visual system to be accurate EVERY time.Even with excellent coaching, practice and knowledge of the game, sports performance can be below potential with an inefficient visual system. The visual abilities needed to excel in sports are learned skills that can be enhanced, while bad visual habits can be unlearned.