There’s a reason the sports terms we hear at every game reference eyes and vision. Not much happens in sports without vision, and it’s no surprise that superior athletes have superior visual skills.
Visual skills go way beyond just seeing 20/20. Eyes are an extension of the brain. Not to get too scientific, but the eyes are the only neurosensory system in the body under our control. Gaining better control of how your eyes see and interpret information can affect your performance in any aspect of life, especially in sports.
When we’re born, our eyes and our brain learn to move and coordinate in tandem to see the world. Because vision and visual control are learned just like any other skill, they can be trained, strengthened and improved. The visual system is the most overlooked area of training in sports, although it is being recognized more and more for the impact it can have on elite performance.
Every play in every sport begins with visual information. We see something, process it and then decide on an action. Swing or don’t swing, shoot or pass, move left or right. How quickly, accurately and efficiently you go through that process is what separates different levels of athletes, from amateur to pro. You can have the best swing in the world but if your timing is off you won’t hit the ball. The eyes lead the action.
Some of the skills that can be trained through sports vision therapy include eye-hand coordination, visual tracking, peripheral awareness, object recognition, spatial awareness, near-far focusing and depth perception.
As an optometrist with a background in vision science and sports psychology, I have the knowledge and expertise to bring high-level sports vision training to our community. Professional athletes Steph Curry and Matt Ryan both started vision training in the off seasons before they broke out with MVP performances. MLB players have used vision training going back to the 1970’s. Even NFL teams are now screening potential draft picks based on a visual skills assessment.
It’s never too early or late to start a vision training program for sports. There are options for individual or group training as little as once a week. And when you see visual skills improve and corresponding athletic performance gains, you’ll wonder why it’s taken so long to focus on this crucial aspect of your game.
For more information, please visit miamisportsvision.com.