By Dr. Joe Rouw
Athletes are always looking to gain an edge in their performance. One area that many athletes may benefit from is enhancing their visual performance. So how does sports vision training work?
Most people think that if they have 20/20 vision, they have perfect vision. While 20/20 vision is nice to have, there are many other visual skills that are needed for our visual system to perform accurately and efficiently. These skills include eye tracking, eye focusing, eye coordination, peripheral awareness, and depth perception. And in sports, improving the accuracy, speed, and endurance of these skills can play a major role in our performance.
A sports vision assessment will check the athlete’s eyesight as well as their visual skill abilities for any areas that aren’t performing at the expected level for their sport. Contact lenses can be used to enhance eyesight even beyond 20/20 vision, and a sports vision training program can be developed for the athlete to address any visual skills that need improvement.
A sports vision training program is not just focused on improving the athlete’s visual skills. Sports vision training programs focus on improving the athlete’s all-around performance by improving information processing skills and visual processing speed as well as eye-hand and eye-body coordination. This allows the athlete to see and process visual information more quickly and accurately and then act on that information with more accurate body control. Sports vision training results in quicker reaction times and more accurate actions for the athlete in their sport. It’s been shown to improve sports performance in collegiate baseball players1.
A sports vision training program not only helps improve sports performance but has also been linked to lower incidences of concussions as seen by a multiple year study at the University of Cincinnati2. Improved peripheral awareness, vision, and decision making can help athletes avoid injury and stay in the game.
- https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0029109 – High-Performance Vision Training Improves Batting Statistics for University of Cincinnati Baseball Players