Exercise Your Eyes to Increase Peripheral Vision for Athletics | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Exercise Your Eyes to Increase Peripheral Vision for Athletics

July 19, 2011

Peripheral vision is more important to sports performance that you might think. Your peripheral vision goes into your brain 25 percent faster than your central vision [what you use to read the eye chart]. About 20 percent of your peripheral nerves aid your ability to remain balanced. To understand how much your peripheral nerves impact your balance, try standing on one foot with your eyes open, then with your eyes closed. You will feel a big difference!

We can also use our peripheral vision to relax. Concentrate on looking as far out to the side as you can while slowly taking deep breaths. This peripheral expansion exercise relaxes the visual system. The ancient Hawaiians practiced focusing on peripheral vision as a form of meditation called Hakalau.

In golf, we use our peripheral vision to get a wide view of the green and determine the overall slant left to right and front to back. As we analyze our putt, we tend to use our central vision to read the green along the path our ball will take to get to the hole.

In ball sports and hockey, peripheral expansion “slows the game down.” When you engage the power of your peripheral vision, you actually make the ball or puck appear bigger. The opposite is to “tunnel” your vision.

I worked with baseball player Doug Jennings on this specific issue. When he was stressed at the plate, he felt like he was standing 10 feet back in a cave while the pitcher threw miniature balls at him—and he couldn’t swing his arms in time. Jennings experienced “body alarm reaction,” meaning he was functionally tunneling his vision and losing the ability to focus his eyes to some degree.

We trained Jennings to expand his peripheral vision and had him perform other vision training drills. He went on to have a very successful season, being named MVP and tying the consecutive home run record in the Japanese Baseball League.

The following exercise can help improve your peripheral vision, just like it did for Jennings.

Sticks and Straw

You will need a straw and two toothpicks for this exercise.

  • Draw a black line around the center circumference of the straw
  • Stand one to two feet in front of the straw, which is being held horizontally by partner
  • Focusing on the black line, hold a toothpick in each hand and attempt to place them into the ends of the straw

Try to notice the ends of the straw with your side vision first. Again, relax your vision and be aware of the ends of the straw while looking at the center.

Variations:

  • If this exercise is too difficult at first, make the straw shorter
  • Once you master this exercise, make the straw longer by taping two straws together

Photo:  acclaimimages.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...
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...
Must See
Brandon Jennings: "Always Improve"
Views: 2,590,465
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 3,621,914
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 2,956,813

Featured Videos

James Harden on Becoming a Franchise Player Views: 72,546
Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Views: 29,436
Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 574,257
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than 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

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,902,816
Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,359,811
Colby Lewis's Four-Seam Fastball Technique
Views: 5,011,582
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,834,380
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,902,816

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Develop an Unstoppable Crossover Dribble With Just 3 Drills

Without question, the crossover dribble is the ultimate basketball maneuver. It's shifty, it's explosive, and most importantly, when done right, it's...

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

Improve Your Jump Shot with Core Strength

Boost Your Fastball With This Weighted Baseball Workout

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

Andrew McCutchen Is Raking His Way to Consecutive MVP Honors

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

5 Things You Can Learn From Playing Pre-Season Basketball

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

WATCH: 5 Post Moves From Nerlens Noel

4 Drills That'll Help You Become an Elite Running Back

Drills for a Better Pole Vault Swing

Softball Pitchers: How to Play Your Best Over a Complete Season

Use These 3 Principles to Improve Your Basketball Defense

4 Soccer Drills to Shoot Better While on the Move

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

3 Offensive Line Drills That'll Help You Keep Your QB Clean

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises

Basketball Dribbling Drills: Use Chaos to Develop Killer Handles

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

This 13-Year-Old Girl Would Strike You Out

2 Drills to Help You Play Lockdown Basketball Defense

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

Wide Receivers: Learn to Catch Every Jump Ball, Every Time

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

Shooting Drills That Will Make You a Knock-Down Shooter