Develop Your Visual Tracking Skills With a Bug Walk | STACK
Larry Lampert
- 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...

Develop Your Visual Tracking Skills With a Bug Walk

June 23, 2011

Sports are played at a fast pace. A pitched baseball can reach you in about four-tenths of a second, and a tennis serve can travel at upwards of 120 mph. To hit a ball or return a serve, your eyes must be able to accurately track the object. You can then quickly react and get into position to execute the proper sports skill.

It’s possible to dramatically improve your visual tracking skills with training drills. The drills enable you to follow an object smoothly through its entire path. They also reduce eye fatigue, so your visual performance doesn’t fade throughout the duration of a game.

Below, I list out an easy-to-perform drill to help take your visual tracking to the next level.

Bug Walk

•            Attach a 10- to 15-inch string to a doorknob and hold it to your nose so string is tight
•            Focus your eyes on the string until you see two strings
•            Slowly walk eyes from nose to distant end of string
•            Slowly walk eyes back from distant end of string to nose

Advertisement

Sets/Reps: 1x5

When performing the exercise, you should see two strings, which is caused by an optical illusion. The strings will initially appear as a V, but will change to an X as you move your eyes farther along the string. Imagine your eyes are following a bug crawling on the string.Your eyes may not be able to focus on the strings crossing. If you look at the end of the line, but the string is crossed closer to your body, you need to relax your eyes. To accomplish this, become aware of your periphery—notice the floors, walls and ceiling out of the "corners" of your eyes. If this does not work, try looking past the wall or doorknob to relax your eyes [diverge]. Eventually your eyes will learn to point accurately. If you see the strings crossing closer to the end of the line, beyond where you are looking, you need to "tighten" up your eyes [converge], or look closer to bring the "X" closer.As your eyes move down the string, you may notice they jump from spot to spot instead of running smoothly down the string. This is a natural reflex, but this “jumping” is what you're looking to eliminate over time.

If you see one string turn off and on, you are suppressing. To eliminate this, try flicking the string a couple of times. If this does not work, tap the side of your head between your eye and your temple on the side that is suppressing. It will usually be your non-dominant eye [more on eye dominance here]. For example, if you see only one string and it goes to the right, your right eye is on, and your left eye is suppressing; tap the left side of your head.This drill will work your visual tracking skills and help you become a more successful athlete.

Photo:  theepochtimes.com

Larry Lampert
- 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...

Training Centers

FIND A STACK VELOCITY SPORTS
PERFORMANCE LOCATION NEAR YOU

Connect

Advertisement

Resources

Performance Center

Custom workouts and performance tracking

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be the fittest you ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

Varsity

High school sports community and content sharing

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes