Some athletes note just how critical vision is in their overall performance. The famous baseball player Rod Carew claimed that when batting he watched the ball come out of the pitcher’s hands and paid attention to the way the noticeably red stitches moved as the ball grew closer to home plate. This was supposedly the key to his impressive consistency that led him to be a seven-time American League batting champion.
While some athletes have special physical gifts that are the product of genetics, natural talent, or relentless practice, there are some things like the vision that modern medical science can help enhance. Also known as “Sports Vision Enhancement” can maximize elements of your performance and elevate your inherent athletic gifts.
What Is Sports Vision Enhancement?
Sports Vision Enhancement is a specially designed program of exercises and treatment intended to help athletes of all skill levels achieve the kind of visual skills to elevate their performance to the next level. This includes things like:
Multiple Object Tracking
Improving the way the eyes track one or more moving objects helps not only with reaction times but the brain’s ability to make fluid decisions based on the surrounding environment. In some cases, this might call for some type of corrective lenses or corrective eye surgery to improve visual acuity.
As a critical skill in most sports the ability to train your vision with vision therapy techniques and the responsiveness of the hands can be improved through a series of exercises. This might also include making improvements in response to peripheral visual stimuli.
Visual Imagery Training
This is a process that uses mental imagery of “Mental Rehearsal” to replicate the desired performance in the mind’s eye. With guided imagery, the individual develops an increased ability to anticipate what they will feel, hear, and especially see in a process. This helps train the eyes and reaction times for optimum performance when immersed in the real world experience.
The ultimate goal of vision performance training is to improve the individual’s speed, endurance, balance, technique, accuracy, and precision. This typically requires a customized and guided approach to performance that starts with careful evaluation of the athlete’s strengths and weaknesses. This information is then applied to the visual performance training process to optimize the individual’s strengths while improving the visual components of their weaknesses.
Who Benefits Most From Sports Vision Performance Training
Sports vision performance training is the sort of thing that fits a wide range of athletic pursuits and performance-based activities. Though some athletes benefit from it greatly. Especially those who often perform at a high level in practices, though find themselves struggling in games and high-stress moments.
Some of the sports that benefit the most from sports vision performance training include:
Baseball & Softball
While batting is an obvious area of improvement for sports vision performance training, pitchers, catchers, and infielders also benefit from improved reaction time and improvements in hand-eye coordination.
Sports vision performance training helps hockey players in a variety of ways. This includes peripheral perception as well as the ability to react to the puck and subtle changes in an opponent’s posture that indicates their intentions.
Basketball is a game of reaction time and body coordination where peripheral perception also plays a key role. Sports vision performance training helps basketball players tune their body for the constantly shifting motion of the game, as well as improving their overall shooting accuracy. Visual imagery training is especially helpful when it comes to high-stress shots like making free throws.
Hand-eye coordination and body control are key components in the game of tennis. Vision performance training helps tennis players track the ball more effectively as well as improve the way they address the ball with their racket.
Vision performance training helps soccer player know where teammates are located on the field. It also helps them receive the ball and pick their head up quickly. This also improves a soccer player’s ability to scan the field and look for other players making runs.
Safety and reaction times as well as ball recognition skills represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to important football skills that can be improved by sports vision performance training. While it certainly helps with things like kicking, passing, and catching the ball, sports vision performance training also helps with body recognition as well as seeing the field. This can go a long way toward avoiding unnecessarily hard collisions with other players, to reduce the risk of concussions and other serious injuries.
Of course, these are just a few of the sports that can benefit from sports vision performance training. Pretty much all sports and physical activities can benefit from improvements in recognition, visual acuity, hand-eye coordination, and visual imagery training.
How Long Does Sports Vision Performance Training Take?
The duration of the training process can vary from one athlete to the next. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. After a comprehensive evaluation, which takes 30 to 60 minutes, your physician/trainer will develop a customized training regimen that is specific to your goals as well as addressing areas of improvement. All with an eye on optimizing your performance over time.
The early stages can take two to three months to make significant improvements. Though many athletes who benefit from sports vision performance training will choose to continue the process by focusing on specific areas that might need improvement in their game. Especially those individuals who are considering becoming or who already are professional athletes.
What Technology Is Used In Sports Vision Performance Training?
There are a few different techniques and modern technological advances used in sports vision performance training.
Employs a stroboscopic training platform and specialized eyewear equipped with liquid crystal technology. The goal is to strengthen the connections between your eyes, brain, and body.
The Right Eye
This process helps to identify opportunities for improving performance by objectively quantifying how the individual gathers the amplitude and velocity of rapid, involuntary, and oscillatory ocular movements. This is then compared over time to effectively track improvements.
Senaptec Sensory Station
This process helps to develop a training plan by selecting from the 14 training modules and other Senaptec sensory tools. This also makes it easy to keep track of progress. As performance in the targeted areas improves the training module will automatically adjust to continue to challenge that skill and provide continuous improvement.