Eye fixations, also known as saccades, are jumping eye movements in which your eyes look from one spot or object to another on the field or court. They are distinguished from smooth eye movements, such as following the flight of a ball.
When most athletes look from one object to another, their eyes tend to stop near the object, then make a second, corrective movement to actually land on it. This is known as an “undershoot and correct,” and it happens in a fraction of a second. It is less efficient to have more than one undershoot or to overshoot the object and then correct.
The Four-Corner Fixations drill trains the eyes to move more quickly from object to object, thus improving the speed with which an athlete can gather visual information and react. Studies have revealed that elite athletes are able to complete more saccadic eye movements in a shorter period of time than other athletes.
This will help with eye movement skills, visualization skills and peripheral expansion.
- Find a wall that has four corners, all of which are visible.
- Label each corner with a number (from 1 to 4), or visualize the numbers.
- While looking at corner 1, try to see out to corner 2 with your peripheral vision.
- Move your eyes in one accurate movement to corner 2.
- Now try to see corner 3; repeat drill.
- Now try to see corner 4; repeat drill.
- Look back to corner 1.
- Repeat drill counterclockwise, from 1 to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1.
A wall with the Four-Corner Fixation Drill marked out
Try this drill at a constant pace and then try to increase your pace. Next, try it while running in place, doing jumping jacks or bouncing on a trampoline. Perform it while doing zig-zag patterns, or have a friend call out which corner to move your eyes to. Do this for three minutes.