Fundamental Elements of Vision Training | STACK
X

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

Fundamental Elements of Vision Training

September 25, 2012 | Dr. Larry Lampert

Lining Up Putt
Most athletes think that if they don't have to wear eyeglasses, they have perfect vision. However, optimal vision is more complicated than that. I like to think of vision as having three components: clarity, speed and endurance.

Clarity includes three main elements: contrast sensitivity, ability to see through glare or haze, and acuity (i.e., whether you need eyeglasses). You can think of ideal clarity as what you experience when wearing polarized lenses.

Speed refers to visual temporal processing—or how quickly your eyes process what you're seeing. A good way to picture this is to imagine a ceiling fan. How fast can it go before you can no longer make out the individual blades? The better your visual temporal processing, the faster the fan can go before you lose sight of the individual blades.

Endurance, or comfort, refers to things like light sensitivity, eye fatigue and eye dryness. A number of recent studies reveal that our eyes experience fatigue after activities such as extended computer use. Many people who wear contact lenses, or who've had Lasik surgery, or who have allergies experience eye dryness.

Even athletes who have superior eyesight need to evaluate these different aspects of their vision. A sports vision training program can improve many of them (discover drills to improve your eye performance). Peak visual skills are critical to achieving the coordination, concentration, balance and accuracy athletes need to excel at their sports.

In my work with athletes in a broad range of sports, optimal vision is a key success factor, one that can elevate a good player to a great player. A batter facing a 95-mph pitch has only 100 milliseconds to make a decision whether to swing. A small (15%) improvement in neural processing speed can slow the baseball's perceived speed to about 80 mph. Although it's often overlooked, improving and maintaining visual performance—which boosts neural processing speed—should be an integral part of any athlete's training regimen.

Every day, I see first-hand how improved vision significantly improves the skills of athletes. For example, I worked with a pro golfer who was having difficulty looking at the hole, then the ball, then the hole again. It seemed to change position. Through exercises to address her putting alignment confusion, she improved her game considerably.  (Find out how to improve your putting with vision training.) A famous tennis star described his fast racket head speed and quick visual reaction time as key elements to his success.

The professional athletes I see in my practice depend on being physically fit to earn a living. It's my belief that the health of their eyes requires as much attention as their pitching arm or their Achilles tendon. In addition to vision training exercises, it's imperative to take care of your eyes with proper nutrition, like you do for the rest of your body. (Learn how to improve your vision with a supplement.)

Photo: Golfproassessment.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

3 Ways to Develop Your Football Warrior Mentality

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

So You Didn't Make the Team? 5 Ways to Move On

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

4 Ways to Turn Mental Toughness Into Physical Toughness

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

A Coach Describes What It

Make Goals, Not Deals

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

Are You Playing With a Winning Mindset?

How Mentally Tough Are You?

Don't Take Your Headphones to the Gym

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

4 Tips for Building Confidence

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

How Nik Wallenda Prepared to Walk Across the Grand Canyon

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

Tips to Be a Better Leader

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

Visualize Yourself Winning, and You're Halfway There

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

6 Ideas to Build a More Cohesive Team

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?