Sports Vision — Are your visual skill’s letting you down?
In the hyper competitive world of professional sport and also for those wanting to break into the high level ranks physical conditioning is strongly emphasised. This heavy emphasis on Strength & Conditioning to create a stronger more athletic physique with greater cardiopulmonary capacity to push previous levels of endurance as well as innovative techniques to manipulate the muscle stretch reflex improving Speed, Agility & Quickness are all laboriously drilled. Thereby continuously incrementally pushing the margins of athletic performance to progress and ultimately gain a competitive advantage over the competition.
However, one major aspect of performance conditioning is dramatically undervalued and often ignored completely. That is vision.
Eyesight versus Vision…
“If two similarly trained athletes meet in competition and one has a better trained visual system, the athlete with the enhanced visual system will perform better”
Eyesight refers to the physical attributes and performance of the components of the visual system. 20/20 is an often commonly quoted measure of good visual acuity; yet it simply describes the efficiency of the eye to see fine detail in the distance whilst remaining static.
Vision, rather is a thought process, which when processed by the eyes and visual cortex in the brain emerges as an understanding of the world in which we operate: What is seen? Where is it? How to react to it? Thus creating a perception of reality through combined sensory systems and based on our experience and interaction of the environment in which we function.
In motorsports, vision is so much more than seeing the other competitors car’s. Vision is the total process whereby the spatial relationships between the car’s, track undulations and environmental conditions are taken in and processed by a driver in order to guide their car to the end of the race in the fastest time possible time, safely and with minimal relative stress. It’s also what directs a cricket player to swing the bat at the exact moment in time and space to make contact with a ball moving at high speed in order to strike it through the defence of the opposing team and notch up another boundary.
So you think you’ve got good vision?
In his book “See To Play — The Eyes of Elite Athletes” Dr. Michael Peters highlighted that 59% of 18–34 year old’s in the USA alone required some form of prescription to correct their vision and since the majority of professional athletes fall into this age group, it should follow that 59% should also require some type of vision correction. He further went on to survey all major sporting leagues and this resulted in the following findings of players that needed visual assistance.
- 17.1% National Football League (NFL)
- 16% National Basketball Association (NBA)
- 29.6% Major League Baseball (MLB)
- 20.2% National Hockey League (NHL)
These were all professional athletes who had substantially better visual scores than the average population in the same age group. He goes on to explain that:
- Many vision problems are hereditary. Parents wanting their children to perform well should be cognisant of their visual skill’s and have them tested often.
- In a 30 year span the population of the USA has become 66% more near sighted. This is blamed on the increased usage of computer’s, video games, digital screens, smartphones and book’s.
- Trainers & Coaches need more education and awareness on the importance of training the visual system.
- Athletes, if you want to perform at the highest level and the best, you’d better pay much closer attention to how well you see by getting vision tested often BUT also training your visual system to ensure you’ve done everything possible to perform to your truest potential.
Wearing a prescription isn’t the whole story however there are other traits of the visual system that could be holding you back. A common vision problem affecting sporting performance is the lack of or inefficiency of binocular vision.
Binocular Vision is explained as follows:
The brain receives images from both eyes. It then combines these two images into one, to make a single coherent image. In order to do this it requires these images to be of the same visual quality and compares any slight differences. These minute differences allow the brain to work out depth & speed of movement.
If the eyes do not align in the same direction at the same time the visual picture differs and the brain struggles to merge the images of each eye into one single coherent image. As a compensation the brain suppresses or rather ignores the visual input from the weaker eye.
It is very common to have a suppression and still function in normal everyday life BUT it will massively affect athletic performance in the following ways:
- Accuracy & Timing issue’s.
- Under OR Over Shooting a target.
- Balance & Co-Ordination issue’s.
- Sub-Optimal Agility.
- Muscle and Joint Imbalances even after repeatedly performing a Corrective Exercise routine.
- Reoccurring Injuries.
- Neck & Spinal Injuries.
- Eye-Hand as well as Eye-Foot Co-Ordination and Integration.
- Slow to React to visual stimulus.
Just as muscles in the human movement system are trained to become stronger, react faster and have better endurance so too can the intra & extra muscles of the eye be trained with focused specific drill’s to dramatically improve visual processing and ultimately improve athletic performance.
The Effects of Sports Vision Training on Binocular Vision Function in Female University Athletes
Binocular vision is the most important visual cue for spatial orientation in many sports. In this study, we…
- The positive results obtained after a period of eight weeks of training suggest that binocular function, e.g. ocular alignment and motor fusion range, is trainable and can be improved by means of appropriate visual training.
The Impact of a Sports Vision Training Program in Youth Field Hockey Players
The aim of this study was to investigate whether a sports vision training program improves the visual performance of…
- In summary, the study suggests that certain visual abilities, e.g. the peripheral perception or the choice reaction time are trainable and can be improved by means of an appropriate visual training programme.
The Efficiency of a Visual Skills Training Program on Visual Search Performance
In this study, we conducted an experiment in which we analyzed the possibilities to develop visual skills by…
- 8 week training of visual functions can improve visual skills, particularly visual search.
Synapse Neuro Performance Solutions are proud to be a world leader in harnessing the latest mobile Brain Endurance Training & Sport’s Vision technology and delivering bespoke solutions to athletes, teams & coaches as well as high performance organisations & individual’s globally. Giving athletes the ability to enhance their Brain Endurance Training & Sport’s Vision skill’s anywhere at anytime 24/7! With the most advanced analytics on the backend and a dedicated Neuro Performance Coach programming, monitoring and progressing your performance.
For more information on Brain Endurance Training & Sport’s Vision check out www.synapseneuroperformance.com or contact via email email@example.com and schedule a call with us in order to discuss your specific requirements and get started.