Get Quicker With Sports Vision Training
3 Drills To Improve Your Sports Performance
No matter what sport you play there is a common trait.
You have a target and you have to hit it.
With basketball you have to throw a ball into the net.
In baseball you have to strike a ball that’s traveling really fast.
Sometimes the target is somebody’s face like in boxing or MMA.
You have to run really fast and catch a ball in football.
In soccer you have to be able to run and kick a ball.
In billiards and pool you have to stand still and hit a ball with a stick.
There’s many other sports out there but they generally all require eye and body coordination.
Do you want to improve your sports performance?
Of course you do, or you wouldn’t be here reading this, right?
You’ve probably been training for power, strength, speed, and maybe building muscle to improve your athletic performance.
But, have you trained what really connects you to your environment?
Really, it’s about training your visual system.
And, just so you know, you actually see with your brain, not your eyes.
Your eyes take in information and your brain breaks it down so you can see what’s going on.
In sports performance training, the eyes are usually trained indiscriminately. They get a bit of attention in some drills and exercises but most of the time not a lot of specific attention is given to vision training in particular during an athletic training program.
Why should sports vision training work for you?
Your vision system helps you interact with your environment. It helps you map out where things are in space and where you are in space, then along with other systems of your body, your proprioceptive (movement) and vestibular system (balance) you are able to interact with your environment.
A lot of things happen intuitively in the body. Especially as an athlete, you have built up a lot of reps of specific movements that are related to your sport that you don’t have to think of. But, as an amateure athlete you may have had to break down a lot of movements or sport specific skills before they become more reflexive in nature.
Vision can also be broken down into different skills. And each visual skill can be trained to help you become a more proficient athlete.
Vision Training Skills
In general to have good vision for sports performance, you need to train 4 skills:
- Depth Judgement
- Visual Resolution
- Eye Movement
- Peripheral Awareness
Let’s break these down a bit further so you can get a better understanding.
Depth Judgement is about knowing where you are and objects are in your environment in relationship to one another. You need to be able to judge the speeds of these objects, if they’re moving or how fast you may be moving as well.
With visual resolution, you need to be able to see things clearly so you can make sense of them. If things are a bit blurry then your brain may not trust what your eyes are seeing and could put the brakes on your. Your clarity may also affect your depth judgement.
Your eyes also need to be able to move really well. You have several tasks that need to happen very quickly. They need to jump back and forth in space, adjust quickly to near and far distances, track things moving fast and slow in all directions.
Lastly, you need your eyes to take in information peripherally so you can be aware of what’s going on around you without looking directly at it.
Again, vision is a skill, and broken down like this, from a brain perspective each skill uses different parts of the brain for the demands needed. If you want to get faster you need to assimilate information faster using your visual system.
As you increase the proficiency of your visual system you will be able to act and react faster within your sport.
How Do You Increase Sports Performance with Sports Vision Training?
I go over many different skills in my training S3 Sports Performance training course with sports vision training being one of them. Here’s three areas to focus on so you can begin training your visual system.
- Visual Pursuits –
- Focal Accommodation –
- Peripheral awareness –
Depending on how fast the object is moving you may end up using a different skill called pursuits. It’s a different skill because there are different areas of your brain that are involved in tracking objects through space. At different levels you need to be able to track smooth moving targets and targets that may be moving slower but a bit erratic.
Go bird watching. As you are outside walking, look up in the sky and see if you can find some birds flying around. Pursue them with your eyes. You can also look at cars driving by or other people around you, just don’t stare at them too long though.
Your eyes need to be able to adjust quickly between near and far targets. At the same time the target needs to be as clear as possible to help your brain make sense of where it is in space relative to where other things are in space so you can hit it, catch or kick it. There’s a bunch of eye muscles that work together to get your eyes focused properly at different distances to make this happen.
To integrate this into our training you can find a close target and a far target and jump back and forth between them each time allowing time for the target to come into focus. Challenge yourself with different distances, speeds and directions.
You need to be aware of what’s around you without looking at it. Colors, textures, shapes, movements. During the day you can take time to “take in” different aspects of your environment.
As you are reading this, what shapes can you notice around you? Can you pick up on different contrasts? Do you notice movements?
During your training sessions you can always add in quick peripheral awareness drills. Stacking peripheral awareness with other drills can be a real challenge as well.
There are many ways to integrate vision training into your day. You can carve out time and train it like a regular training session. You can integrate certain drills into different routines you have throughout the day. Or, you can also make them a part of your regular workout routine.
How To Get Started With Sports Vision Training
There’s many vision exercises to improve your sports performance. In my Sports Vision Training program I go over specific assessments to find out which areas you may need improvement in. Being able to assess each visual skill can allow you to develop a plan of action on how to approach your vision training and allow you to see progress over time.
Training your vision is just like training muscles to perform better. You need to take a progressive approach by manipulating different variables and adding in different stresses to improve your performance.
If you’re ready to start a sports vision program contact me below.
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