Think of your favorite sport; chances are your vision plays an important part in that activity. Coordination, concentration, balance and accuracy are just a few of the visually-related abilities you use during a sporting event. The eyes guide the hands, feet, and body to respond or to reach a specific goal, whether it is to hit a ball, or to reach the finish line. The term “vision” and the growing field of “sports vision” apply to more than 20/20 eyesight, glasses or contact lenses. Vision involves many subtle and sophisticated links between your brain, muscles and eyes.
When you train for your sports activities, you work on your aerobic capacity, endurance, strength, muscle tone and flexibility. But optometrists, coaches and trainers say you should train your vision as well. The stamina, flexibility and fine-tuning of your visual system can provide you with the split-second timing you need to truly excel at your sport.
The skills you need for peak performance in your favorite sport are:
- Dynamic visual acuity which allows you to see objects clearly while in motion.
- Eye tracking which is the ability to “keep your eyes on the ball,” no matter how fast it may be travelling.
- Eye focusing accurately and quickly between objects at differing distances.
- Peripheral vision which allows you to see people and objects “out of the corner of your eye” while concentrating on a fixed point.
- Fusion flexibility and stamina that allows you to keep both eyes working together even under high speed, physically stressful situations.
- Depth perception which allows you to, quickly and accurately, judge the distance and speed of objects.
- Visualization which allows you to imagine yourself performing a particular activity, thus boosting your confidence and aiding you with greater focus on you athletic goals.
A Sports Vision Enhancement Program starts with a comprehensive evaluation that leads to an individually designed protocol to improve sports vision skills. The service has two goals: to evaluate an athlete’s visual skills and performance, and to develop and enhance visual skills necessary for peak performance which will successfully improve eye-hand coordination, visual reaction time, peripheral awareness, eye teaming, focusing, tracking and visualization skills. Visual improvement works with athletes of all levels, from little league to professionals, in all sports.