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 has a real impact on your game’s quality. 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 aspects. Overall, batting parameters improved by 10% or more from vision training exercises.
Consider these tips:
- 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.
Visual memory is one aspect of how we think and comprehend information. It’s about remembering where the players are on the field as you receive the pass or just how much topspin the opponent used on the ball. Any time you practice memory games- such as kid’s matching game you are training a portion of your brain to recall correctly and quickly.
- The Sidelong Glance
Improve your peripheral vision, 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.
- 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.
- 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.