Better Vision: It's Not About What You See, But What You Know

November 6, 2012 | Lauren S. Tashman

Ever noticed how elite athletes seem to know what's about to happen before it actually does? Like Abby Wambach's last-minute goal in the 2011 World Cup, one of the hallmarks of successful sports performance is knowing what to do at precisely the right time. It's not about having better vision, but knowing what to see and when, and most important, how to act based on what you see.

Cognitive psychologist Anders Ericsson believes that greatness can be achieved through intense practice aimed at learning and improving, or what he calls "deliberate practice." To get "better vision," you have to practice in a way that helps you learn what to see, what to do, how to do it and why to do it. Through this kind of intentional, intense practice, you gain a better understanding of situations and how to act when they occur, becoming more successful and developing expertise.

Two Tips for Sports Vision Training

Train your decision making

In sports, expertise is all about the decisions we make, when we make them, understanding why we make them, and thinking about how to make even better decisions next time. One way to train your decision making is to do what's called after-action reviews. After practice or a game, analyze what you did, why you did it, and how you could improve your actions next time. Video review is extremely helpful. When you are watching game film, focus on analyzing the decisions you made.

Train your perception

Making effective decisions requires you to focus on the right things at the right times. This helps you understand what decisions you have to make and when you have to make them. More important, it helps you better anticipate these decisions so that you can act more quickly and effectively.

Think about what you need to see, when you need to see it and what you should do with what you see. Include perceptual training drills in your practices. For example, in tennis, if you need to focus on the ball, use different colored balls and call out the color of the ball when you are supposed to be looking at it. Or, in soccer, if you need to be looking at the rotation of an opponent's hips, use different colored Velcro attached to the hips you need to be looking at to direct your focus to that spot.

Lauren Tashman
- Lauren Tashman completed her Ph.D. in sport psychology at Florida State University and is now an assistant professor in sport, exercise, and performance psychology...
Lauren Tashman
- Lauren Tashman completed her Ph.D. in sport psychology at Florida State University and is now an assistant professor in sport, exercise, and performance psychology...
Must See
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,576,773
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 24,751,840
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 8,081,467

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,016,699
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,631
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,687
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

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,717
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,362
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,576,773
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,085
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,111

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

Basketball speed is critical to offensive success. Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to executing layups. One of the principles that I use...

How Stephen Curry Became the Best Shooter in the NBA

How Stephen Curry Became the Best Shooter in the NBA

10 Tips Every AAU Player Must Know

10 Tips Every AAU Player Must Know

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

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

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

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

2 Drills to Help You Play Lockdown Basketball Defense

2 Drills to Help You Play Lockdown Basketball Defense

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

Improve Your Jump Shot with Core Strength

Improve Your Jump Shot with Core Strength

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

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

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

Learn from Steph Curry: Stay the Course to Beat the Defense

Learn from Steph Curry: Stay the Course to Beat the Defense

The Football Route Tree, Explained

The Football Route Tree, Explained

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

'Squash the Bug' and Other Softball Batting Tips That Don't Work

'Squash the Bug' and Other Softball Batting Tips That Don't Work

Teach the Layup with the Two-Step Drill

Teach the Layup with the Two-Step Drill

Learn to Shoot a Basketball with the BEEF Method

Learn to Shoot a Basketball with the BEEF Method

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

4 Tips for Coaching Low-Velocity Softball Pitchers

4 Tips for Coaching Low-Velocity Softball Pitchers

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

4 Soccer Drills to Shoot Better While on the Move

4 Soccer Drills to Shoot Better While on the Move

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

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

Basketball Speed Drills for Offense

Basketball Speed Drills for Offense

WATCH: 5 Post Moves From Nerlens Noel

WATCH: 5 Post Moves From Nerlens Noel

Boost Your Fastball With This Weighted Baseball Workout

Boost Your Fastball With This Weighted Baseball Workout

Become a Better Baserunner With This Agility Drill

Become a Better Baserunner With This Agility Drill

Drills for a Better Pole Vault Swing

Drills for a Better Pole Vault Swing

YardBarker