Whether you play on the court, on the field, or somewhere in-between, you need more than strength and agility to be a great athlete. One of an athlete’s best assets is his or her eyes—and the eyes aren’t focused on enough during conditioning training, if at all. An athlete’s ability to see, analyze, and then react to what is going on in an event can have a direct impact on his or her game quality.
Returning a serve, dunking a basket, knocking the ball out of the park, or receiving that pass are all obstacles that rely on your visual system. This is why it is so important to undergo athletic vision training. There are some vision exercises that you can do at home to improve your flexibility focus, visual memory, peripheral vision, and depth perception. Here are four of them.
Flexibility of Focus
Your body needs to be flexible in order to play a quality game, but your eyes need flexibility as well. To improve your focus flexibility at home, you will want to switch focus between near and far objects. One really great way to improve your focus flexibility at home is when you are using the computer. Look up from your computer and put your focus on something that is at least two feet away. This can be a piece of wall art, a kid playing outside the window, or something else entirely. This will also help reduce the amount of eye strain that you are enduring.
One way that your brain is able to think and comprehend data is through visual memory. It is how you are able to know where your players are when you receive a pass or how much of a spin your opponent used on the ball. When you play memory games, such as those matching games when you were a kid, you are essentially training a part of your brain to recall quickly and correctly. Take the time to revisit these types of games—but maybe in a more adult version—and focus each time on improving your speed and accuracy.
Your peripheral vision is beside you—it is what you can see out of the corners of your eyes without having to turn your head to do so. To improve your peripheral vision at home, you will want to practice watching out of the sides of your eyes—both your right and your left—when you are walking, shopping, watching TV, or on the computer. Focus on details whenever you can. Your peripheral vision will come in handy more often than not during a sporting event.
The visual ability of depth perception can also come in handy during a sports game, as it gives you the capability of making spatial judgments, such as how far your opponent or the ball is away from you, how deep a pass was, etc. Some ways that you can improve your depth perception at home include kicking or catching the ball with one eye closed and one open. You will focus on one eye at a time, training them separately. You can also try holding a drinking straw at arm’s length in one hand and a BB or small pebble in another and attempt to drop it into the straw. A third exercise is to thread a needle at arm’s length.
For more exercises that you can do at home to improve your athletic vision, or to schedule a consultation for professional athletic vision training, consult with the professionals at Performance Vision.
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