Exercise Your Eyes to Increase Peripheral Vision for Athletics | STACK

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

FROM AROUND THE WEB

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...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Use These 3 Grips to Throw a Changeup They Can't Hit

In my opinion, the best weapon a pitcher has in his arsenal is the change-up. "Fad" pitches come into style all the time. In Roger Clemens day, it was...

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

How David Ortiz Maintains Peak Performance

Matt Kemp on His Way Back to MVP Form

Improving your Hockey Shot on the Ice

This 13-Year-Old Girl Would Strike You Out

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

Basketball Dribbling Drills: Use Chaos to Develop Killer Handles

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

Shooting Drills That Will Make You a Knock-Down Shooter

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

How to Recover After Getting Hit by a Pitch

4 Common Mistakes Made When Coaching Young Athletes

Three Benefits of Being a Young, Multi-Sport Athlete

Tony Wroten's Lethal Crossover Leaves Defender in the Dust

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

Develop an Unstoppable Crossover Dribble With Just 3 Drills

Use These 3 Principles to Improve Your Basketball Defense

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

Does Grunting Improve Your Sports Performance?

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

Catcher Technique, Part 9: What to Expect at a Baseball Showcase

How the San Antonio Spurs Turned a Group of Castoffs into Stars

Fixing Your Basketball Shot: Corrective Drills

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

Top 3 Hockey Training Mistakes

Baseball Catcher Technique Part 8, Youth Catcher Drills

New App to Help Pitchers Avoid Tommy John Surgery

5 Things You Can Learn From Playing Pre-Season Basketball

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

Andrew McCutchen Is Raking His Way to Consecutive MVP Honors

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