Better Sports Vision: It's Not About What You See | STACK
X

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

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...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 Things You Can Learn From Playing Pre-Season Basketball

The preseason is all about getting prepared, and making sure that you are ready to have a successful season as a player. It is a crucial time in the...

Basketball Dribbling Drills: Use Chaos to Develop Killer Handles

Three Benefits of Being a Young, Multi-Sport Athlete

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

Tony Wroten's Lethal Crossover Leaves Defender in the Dust

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

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

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

How to Recover After Getting Hit by a Pitch

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

How David Ortiz Maintains Peak Performance

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

4 Common Mistakes Made When Coaching Young Athletes

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

Does Grunting Improve Your Sports Performance?

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

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

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

Matt Kemp on His Way Back to MVP Form

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

Develop an Unstoppable Crossover Dribble With Just 3 Drills

Use These 3 Principles to Improve Your Basketball Defense

This 13-Year-Old Girl Would Strike You Out

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

Top 3 Hockey Training Mistakes

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

Andrew McCutchen Is Raking His Way to Consecutive MVP Honors

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

Shooting Drills That Will Make You a Knock-Down Shooter

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

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