Athletes are always looking for an extra edge to help them perform better at their sport. You’ve probably thought about aerobic capacity, endurance, strength, muscle tone and flexibility. But in a sport where split-second timing can make all the difference, exceptional visual skills are a must. Many studies show that professional athletes have much better depth perception, hand-eye coordination and other visual skills than non-athletes.
Sports vision training can take you from good to exceptional, with a program that actually trains your vision to a point where you can truly excel in your sport. Talent, training and commitment get you far. Sports vision training can get you to the top.
Some pros have told me sports vision training was more valuable to their game than lessons in mechanics. Improvements are seen in speed and accuracy of eye movements, dynamic visual acuity, hand-eye coordination, eye tracking and focusing, peripheral vision, fusion flexibility and stamina [the ability to keep both eyes working together under high speed or physically stressful situations], depth perception, reaction time and visualization. This results in a finely-tuned visual system, which helps you learn to anticipate and respond more quickly to complex situations.
Professional athletes and coaches know that because visual skills play such key roles in sports performance, they could be the factor that prevents a good athlete from becoming an exceptional one. Conversely, superior visual skills can propel a good athlete to higher levels of performance.
To gain a greater understanding of your visual system, you need to answer several questions: Are you left- or right-eye dominant? How well do your eyes work as a team? Are you right- or left-handed? These questions reveal important aspects of your visual system and what you can do to improve your visual skills.
Once you have an understanding of your own visual system, you can use it to benefit your performance. For example, if you are right-eye dominant, you will do a variety of sports activities differently than if you are left-eye dominant. Your visual system affects how you line up a putt in golf, hit a backhand in tennis, and position yourself in the batter's box for baseball or softball.
The final step is training and developing your visual skills. Once you have learned about your vision, there are many drills and exercises that can enhance your visual skills. Check back soon for another post, where I will discuss how to optimize your vision for success on and off the field.
Dr. Larry Lampert is a board-certified optometric physician and a developmental/behavioral optometrist in Boca Raton, Fla. He is one of only 450 individuals in the world who have completed a fellowship in developmental vision. Dr. Lampert specializes in sports vision training and developmental vision. As a leader in the field, he has worked with pro athletes from the PGA, LPGA, MLB, NFL and ATP. He has been featured on The Golf Channel, NBC Sports and in numerous sports publications. Dr. Lampert is the author of The Pro's Edge: Vision Training for Golf.