Eye Stretches: a vision training drill that develops some of the eye movement skills you need to optimize your sports performance. Eye Stretches help build strength, range, flexibility and stamina in your eye muscles, allowing you to move your eyes rapidly and accurately during a game or activity. This will help you keep track of the ball or puck and see the whole court, rink or playing field.
To perform the drill, you need no equipment—just your eyes.
Pretend there is a big clock dial in front of you. Point your eyes straight ahead at the center of the dial. Move your eyes to the 12 o’clock position, then back to center. Move your eyes to the 1 o’clock position, then back to center. Move your eyes to the 2 o’clock position, then back to center. Continue the pattern for every hour position on the clock and back to center each time. Make sure your eyes move through their full range of motion throughout the dial, while keeping your head still.
Once you have moved your eyes through every hour position in this fashion, repeat the Eye Stretches, going from center to 12 o’clock and around the clock dial in reverse (counterclockwise).
Do this a few times a week, even up to twice a day. Try to maintain an even pace throughout the drill by keeping a count, or use a metronome.
1. Move your eyes smoothly to the number using a gliding eye movement (called a pursuit).
2. Jump your eyes from the center to the numbers and back (called a saccade or saccadic eye movement).
3. Change the speed of your eye movements from set to set.
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.