No matter the sport, an athlete must quickly and accurately react to a play in real-time. Making the right decision in a fraction of a second is what sets pro athletes apart. With sports vision training, an athlete can become an exceptional player by improving the essential visual skills needed for eye-hand-body coordination and to make split-second decisions in their sport.
Many of our patients find that their sports performance improves, even though they came to us for help with their difficulty with reading. The same types of vision disorders which can make reading and learning difficult can often interfere with sports performance.
Sports vision training is an area of sport science dedicated to improving athletic performance by ensuring that the brain and body efficiently process the information obtained through the eyes. Sports vision training helps optimize the brain’s ability to react to visual signals to improve:
Balance – the ability to stay upright or in control of body movement
Contrast Sensitivity – the ability to distinguish between an object and its background, like a white ball against the sky
Depth Perception – the ability to quickly and accurately judge the distance and speed of objects
Dynamic Visual Acuity – the ability to clearly see objects in motion
Eye Tracking – the ability to “keep your eye on the ball.”
Focusing – the ability to rapidly change focus from one object to another quickly and efficiently
Hand-Eye or Body-Eye Coordination – the ability to use your eyes to direct the movements of your hands and body
Peripheral Awareness – the ability to see things out of the corner of your eye
Reaction Time – how quickly a person perceives an anticipated visual event and how quickly they can react to that stimulus.
Evaluating and strengthening each of the visual skills listed above can help increase your chances of playing your sport like a pro.
Eye-hand coordination seems to decrease throughout the game
Visual judgment (such as depth perception) seems to be less accurate after you get tired and have played for a while
You tend to drift in and out of “the zone”
Double vision, blurred vision, excessive blinking or watery eyes occur periodically throughout the game
You find it harder to follow a moving object than your teammates
Your squint a lot more often for near or far visual tasks
During a game, you turn your head to use one eye rather than the other
More practice doesn’t improve performance
Sports which require the ability to aim at a target are harder
You perform better in sports with larger balls, no balls or hockey pucks at all
Sometimes sports professionals reach a ceiling in their performance, and they want that extra edge to outperform their competition. For example, Larry Fitzgerald, a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, attributes his ability to catch the ball with his eyes closed to having received vision therapy as a child.
Sports vision is an exciting science; through improving your visual skills, you can improve your performance no matter what sport or game it is that you play.