Are you an athlete looking for an extra edge in your performance? Have you heard about sports vision training and are curious about how you could benefit from it? In the video below, Dr. Fayiz Mahgoub reviews exactly what you need to know about sports vision training.
If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.
1) What is the role of vision in sports vision?
Vision is our dominant sense in sports. It’s the way that we acquire information about our surroundings in the game and it’s also what guides our body’s movement when we’re playing sports.
2) What makes up vision?
In order to have a good vision, we need healthy eyes, a healthy brain, and our brain needs to learn how to use our eyes together efficiently. Many people don’t know that vision is a learned skill. In fact, we learn 17 visual skills that come together to make up vision. Let’s talk about a few of these visual skills so you know I mean.
The first is visual acuity. This is our ability to be able to see clearly and see fine detail at any given distance. This is where the concept of 20/20 vision comes from.
Eye movement control
Another important visual skill is eye movement control. Our brain needs to utilize the 12 eye muscles that surround our eyes in a way that’s coordinated and efficient. This gives us the ability to move our eyes from place to place and get the information that we need.
It probably comes as no suprise that depth perception is another important skill for athletes. Depth perception is our brain’s ability to use our eyes to judge how far things are from each other or how far they are from us.
Of course, every athlete has heard of eye-hand coordination. The way we should really be thinking about this is eye, hand, foot, and body coordination. In a nutshell, this is a skill where we integrate our vision with our body’s movement.
3) How does vision develop?
Many people find it surprising to learn that we’re not born with fully developed visual skills. The 17 visual skills that I mentioned earlier are things that we pick up over time, just as we learned how to walk and speak as infants.
Vision is a process that develops throughout our whole lives and, just like any learning process, is something that can be enhanced with training.
4) How can an athlete enhance their vision?
Outlined below are 2 major ways for athletes to enhance their vision.
a) Vision correction
Vision correction consists of glasses, contact lenses, surgery, and special tints that help athletes see more clearly and in better contrast. These forms of vision correction are prescribed by your sports vision eye doctor, who takes into account the sport that you play, the lighting conditions that you play in, and your visual demands.
b) Sports vision training
Sports vision training is as a process that teaches our brain how to use our eyes more effectively. Through this process, the trainee performs specific exercises that train their brain on the 17 visual skills.
The goal of vision correction and vision training is to enhance the vision of the athlete far beyond what’s considered good vision for the average person. Athletes who complete sports vision training are able to get information through their vision in a way that is faster, more accurate, more efficient, and, most importantly, automatic. As a result, they don’t have to consciously think about where to look and what to do with their visual system during sports. Instead, they can just focus on the game while their brain automatically becomes aware of where things are in their visual space.
5) How does sports vision training work?
When we typically think of any type of sports training, we think about testing the athlete’s skills and then coaching them on how to improve those skills. When we typically think about any type of sports training we think about testing the athlete’s skills to see where they have the most opportunities and then move on to teaching those skills to give them the best improvement possible in performance.
Sports vision training works the same way. In sports vision training you work with the sports vision eye doctor who tests your vision skills and then prescribes a combination of vision correction which may be through, contact lenses, glasses, tints or a combination of all three, as well as sports vision training exercises that are made to help you learn how to use your vision in your eyes better. These vision correction tools and exercises are tailored to you specifically based on what visual skills you have the most opportunity to improve in as well as what support you play and what visual demands you have in that sport.
Just like any other forms of training, the more time and effort you put into your sports vision training, the bigger the benefits you’ll see in your performance.