6 Tips to Improve Your Vision for Sports
November 10, 2016
Strength and agility are not the only crucial skills on field or court. Many athletes overlook one of their best assets in their conditioning programs – their eyes.
Your ability to see, analyze and react to events near and far on the field have a real impact on the quality of your game. Dunking that basket, returning that serve, receiving that pass, navigating that ice patch or knocking it out of the park all rely on the complex functions of your visual system.
There is an entire field of experts in vision training. There’s sound science behind this too. A university baseball team participated in 6 weeks of vision training exercises to improve batting and hitting, two essential and highly analyzed aspect of the game. Overall batting parameters improved by 10% or more from vision training exercises. This study was published in a prominent medical journal.
Vision exercises can help you improve important body eye coordination, peripheral vision, contrast sensitivity and visual memory. Who wouldn’t want to up their game just by playing some fun eye exercises?
Consider these tips:
#1 – The Stretch
Like a good yoga workout for the body, your eyes need flexibility. You can easily improve this skill at home by switching focus from near and far objects. Practice looking up from your computer and focusing on something about 18 inches away and then something far away such as a view out a window.
#2 – Concentration—The Memory Game
Visual memory is one aspect of how of we think and comprehend information. It’s about remembering where the players are on the field as your receive the pass or just how much topspin the opponent used on the ball. Any time you practice memory games – such as a kid’s matching game you are training a portion of your brain to recall correctly and quickly. Play memory games with a focus on improving your speed.
#3 – The Sidelong Glance
Improve your peripheral vision, you know, the area where the opponent is charging you or where your teammate is set for the pass. Practice “watching” from the sides of your eyes, both left and right, when you are online, walking outside or shopping. See what details you can register either in your periphery, or turn your head to one side to “watch” the action with a sidelong glance.
#4 – The Lazy Susan
Put words into motion and practice reading them at different font sizes and different speeds. Simple tricks include taping words to a spinning lazy Susan, a moving door, or a bouncing ball. Play with font, color, size and familiarity of words and see how many and how quickly you can read them.
#5 – The Mike Wazowski
One of the most important visual tricks your binocular vision gives you is depth perception. This lets you know how far your feet are off the ground or how deep that pass was. Practice catching or kicking the ball with only one eye open, training each eye separately. Or play with small objects at arm’s length, like tapping two pencil tips, dropping a toothpick through a straw or threading a needle.
#6 – Ping Pong
That gameroom classic wasn’t just for fun after all. Table tennis, as it is more widely known, is an effective way to improve your hand eye coordination. It’s a fast moving game that teaches your brain to calculate a moving object and then react accordingly.
Really want to up your vision skills to give your game edge? Try playing ping pong with one eye open while juggling M&Ms. OK, we are kidding on that one. If you really want to up your game start with these simple exercises or look into working with a qualified vision training specialist.