An overview of important vision skills for Football, broken down by position



While vision skills might not be something that comes to mind when thinking about the important skills for football players, there are a number of skills which are extremely important to high level performance, and improving these skills can provide an edge in performance. While there are many vision skills that are important for all players, for certain positions there are others which take on heightened importance.



    Quarterback                             Running-Back                              Receiver                                Line Backer


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Quarterbacks are best known for throwing the ball to the receivers, and that indeed requires several vision skills at high levels. However, there is more to being a successful quarterback than being able to make good throws, and thus, other vision skills which are important.

Important skills for a quarterback include:

  • Hand-eye coordination: It goes without saying that good hand-eye coordination helps improve a quarterback’s ability to handle and accurately throw the ball in high pressure moments.
  • Enhanced peripheral awareness: While the quarterback’s main job is to throw the ball, there is always much more going on during a play, and it’s vital that the quarterback have good peripheral vision so he can better evade tackles from opposing players, and to be aware of where his own teammates are.
  • Visual reaction time: Things happen quickly during a football play, and it’s vital that a quarterback be able to act quickly to spot an open player and make an accurate throw, as well as to avoid tackles by opposing players.
  • Depth perception and distance estimation: This is a vital skill for making long and accurate throws to a target which may also be moving.


The running back has a wide range of tasks in a football game. They have to be able to receive handoffs from the quarterback, rush the ball, function as a receiver to make catches, and also block when needed. Improvements in a wide range of vision skills can lead to significant improvements in in-game performance.

Important skills for a running back include:

  • Enhanced peripheral awareness: All of the running back’s roles require him to move up the field, so having a high degree of peripheral awareness is extremely important for evading opposing players and avoiding collisions with teammates.
  • Visual memory: Another part of the running back’s job is to know both his team’s plan for the play, and to be able to anticipate opposing positions in defense. Increased visual memory will give a running back increased ability to remember different plays, and improve his ability to know where to be--or where not to be.
  • Depth perception and distance estimation: Depth perception is always an important skill when trying to catch a ball being thrown from a great distance away. Distance estimation is a skill which also helps when attempting to make a catch, but in a dynamic sport like football, being able to quickly judge other distances, such as how far he is from the end zone or how far away opposing players are.
  • Visual reaction time: Especially in a sport with so much movement happening at once, it is important for a running back to be able to react to new visual stimuli, whether that be the ball or oncoming opposing players, is vital. Increasing a player’s reaction speed can give him an edge over the competition.


Receivers, often also called wide receivers, have one primary task: to catch passes thrown by the quarterback and score touchdowns. Improving vision skills which help in this primary task will make him a much bigger asset to the team.

Important skills for a receiver include:

  • Hand-eye coordination: An obviously important skill, superior hand-eye coordination will better be able to catch passes thrown from a long distance away.
  • Dynamic visual acuity: This is the skill which lets a player track a (moving) target while his himself is also moving. Very often receivers need to make a catch while on the run, and improving this skill will make a receiver perform better
  • Depth perception and distance estimation: With many other players on the field, and the ball flying in, it’s important for a receiver to be able to quickly and accurately judge exactly where and how far opposing players are, and it helps a receiver know just how far he is from the finish line.
  • Eye tracking and movement precision: The ball can’t be caught unless the receiver is able to effectively track the ball as it flies his way. Depending on the state of the play, eye tracking may also help keep track of the opposing team’s movement.


Linebackers are the main opposition to the receiver, with their job being to prevent them from completing the pass and running the ball toward the end zone. While it might not seem like visual skills are important to a linebacker doing his job, they can provide some important advantages to a player.
  • Depth perception and distance estimation: A linebacker needs to be able to quickly and accurately judge the distances between various players so he can make a tackle.
  • Visual reaction time: Things can happen very quickly during a football game, so it’s vital that a linebacker be able to instantly react to a visual stimulus.
  • Vision balance integration: With all the movement during a football play, balance is an overlooked skill. Staying upright while quickly changing directions or after knocking an opposing player aside gives the linebacker more options when it comes to stopping the enemy team from scoring.
  • Eye tracking and movement precision
  • Another skill which helps the player keep track of their opposite number, eye tracking helps the player’s chances to get to the opposing ball carrier and tackle him to prevent a score.



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Dr. Ikeda

Dr. Ikeda, FCOVD, DPNAP, is a leading optometrist in the field of neuro optometric rehabilitation and developmental optometry. He has made profound contributions to the field over the years and uses these expertise to provide the highest quality of eye care to his patients. He was Past-President of the Optometric Extension Program Foundation (OEPF) and of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA). He received the “Founding Fathers Medal” for his continued service to NORA and he was recognized as “Physician of the Year” by the Rehabilitation Nurses Society. He is a clinical associate professor of the Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry and was inducted as a Distinguished Practitioner into the National Academies of Practice (Optometry Academy).

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I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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