For the longest time, athletes would spend months during the off-season going through various conditioning drills to get an edge up on the competition. Today, however, a new technique is becoming popular for athletes to get that competitive edge: sports vision training. So, what is it, and how is it so beneficial to athletes?
What Is Sports Vision Training?
Just as athletes improve their sports performance with various body training techniques based on strength and endurance, an athlete can improve his or her visual skills through a variety of conditioning methods. Some specific visual functions that a vision professional trains with an athlete on include the following:
- Dynamic Visual Acuity – This enables you to have clear, sustained focus on quickly moving objects.
- Peripheral Awareness – This is what allows you to see what’s going on at the right and left sides of you without turning your head in either direction.
- Hand-Eye Coordination – This involves the coordinated processing and control of motor skills and visual input as it relates to the movement of the hand.
- Depth Perception – This provides spatial judgments, such as how far something or someone is away from you.
- Contract Sensitivity – This is the ability to adequately distinguish between light versus dark—no matter how fine the line may be.
- Color Vision – This is the ability to properly detect different colors—as well as hues—in order to interpret subtle environmental features.
When it comes to the training of these previously mentioned skills, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach, as a different approach will be taken based on the demands of the sport being played. For example, tennis players would need more focus on hand-eye coordination, skiers would require a strong focus on contract sensitivity due to snow shadows, and team sports would require more of a focus on peripheral awareness.
How Is Sports Vision Training So Beneficial to Athletes?
Though it has been touched on in this article, the benefits of sports vision training go far beyond on what can be explored within the content of this piece. But just consider this for a moment: the primary sense that athletes use is their vision, and reports show that vision may accounting for somewhere between 85 and 90% of an athlete’s sensory processing demands when playing sports. More scientific research shows that athletic performance and visual function are directly related.
With that being said, an eye professional that focuses on sports vision training has the ability to help an athlete enhance their situational awareness, reading of human movement cues, focus flexibility, tracking of dynamic scenes, and much more. With all of this enhanced, you have the ability to improve your free throw percentage, batting percentage, and various other metrics that are used to measure your athletic performance—in fact, research already shows that focusing on your basic visual skills can improve these metrics.
Sports Vision Training Is on the Rise, and It’s Here at Performance Vision
More and more optometrists are seeing the benefits of sports vision training, and they are starting to incorporate this type of training into their practice as more athletes are becoming aware of the advantages that this training has on their game.
If you are interested in sports performance enhancement and getting a leg up on your competition, then contact us at Performance Vision to learn more about our sports vision training program and how we can help you become the best athlete that you can be.
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