In my previous articles on STACK.com, I’ve discussed the importance of sports vision training and have offered up numerous drills to help various aspects of your game. Here I present a simple exercise, one that can be performed even at home, designed to help your hand-eye coordination and eye reaction time.
The Flashlight Chase Drill will improve both your smooth eye movements (pursuits) and jumping eye movements (saccades). The results: improved hand-eye coordination and eye reaction time, both critical for any athlete. This particular drill will help you track a baseball through its entire path, keep your eyes locked on a pass, follow a tennis serve and keep track of teammates and opponents on the field.
Flashlight Chase Drill
You will need two flashlights, a partner and a wall.
Stand about 10 feet from the wall with a flashlight on, your partner to the side and the lights turned off. Your partner starts by shining his or her flashlight beam on the wall, moving it at various speeds in random, smooth patterns, such as circles, figure eights or zigzags. Chase your partner’s beam with your own light; your beam should shine on top of your partner’s at all times.
In the second part of the drill, your partner moves his or her flashlight beam in rapid, jumping movements. Follow your partner’s beam with your light as quickly and accurately as possible. Your partner then quickly jumps his or her beam to another place on the wall—and you must tag the light again.
To increase the difficulty of the Flashlight Chase Drill, make the flashlight beams smaller by covering part of the head with masking tape, or try the drill with laser pointers.
Perform both parts of the Flashlight Chase for three to five minutes each, one to two times per day and three to four times per week. You will improve both your eye movements and your hand-eye coordination.
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.