By focusing your vision on a small target, you can boost your performance in all types of sports. Envisioning a smaller target develops precision. To elevate your game, try fine-tuning your focus on a smaller target. It will improve both your concentration and the consistency of your game.
Below, I break down specific examples for golf and tennis athletes. However, aiming for a specific target (like a mark on a receiver’s hand or a first baseman’s glove) can improve accuracy and performance in other sports as well.
Smaller targets can help your golf game. Some pros advocate that on long putts, your target should be a three-foot circle around the cup. This doesn’t really make sense, considering the goal is to put the ball in the cup. Making the target larger just allows more room for error and can result in a sloppy putt.
Instead, think of golf as a sport with two targets:
1. The ball is the target because you impact it with the club
2. The hole is the target on straight putts (for breaking putts, it’s a spot on the green)
To fine-tune your eyes’ focus on the ball, place a black dot on the back tip of the ball. That will help you make square contact when you putt, and you will strike the ball with the club’s sweet spot more often.
Also, don't just aim for the cup on short putts. Instead, aim at a specific one-inch section of the rim of the cup. This will help you to zoom your eyes in on a smaller target.
In ball sports, we also focus our eyes on a smaller area of the ball. In tennis, you can draw a black dot (make it about the size of a quarter) on the ball and focus your vision on this smaller target.
Be sure to use your peripheral vision to stay aware of the court, which will help you avoid “tunneling” your vision. Refer to my visual tracking skills post to learn more about the importance of peripheral vision and how you can expand it to “slow the game down.”
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.