Vision Skills for Sports

When we think of vision, we normally think of 20/20, however for competitive athletics, every edge can make the difference. Vision plays a major role in sports, and sports vision training can help athletes excel by improving the visual skills used in their sport and position. Professional and amateur athletes have been using sports vision training to improve core visual skills that can make the difference between good and great performance.  

Vision Skills for Sports in Bellflower

The Importance of Vision in Sports

Anyone who has seriously trained for a sport, and even many who only engage in sports on a causal basis, will understand the importance of good vision.

Whether you need to catch a ball, hit a ball, or time a jump, the ability to correctly--and quickly--judge distances is vital.

The specific vision skills required in different sports varies, of course. A skier, a baseball player, and a gymnast all rely on different key skills in order to excel at their chosen activity.

However, there is enough overlap between various sports to enable us to list a number of vision skills that will be relevant to athletes.

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Vision Skills for Athletes

  • Eye-Hand-Body Coordination

This is how your hands, feet, and other parts of the body respond to the information gathered through your eyes. Eye-hand-body coordination, often referred to as simply hand-eye coordination, is an essential skill in many sports, especially those where precise timing and control are required to perform at high levels. One example of the importance of this skill can be seen in baseball, where batters are required to hit pitches thrown at speeds as fast as 100mph, leaving them mere moments to decide whether to swing or not.

  • Eye Tracking

Eye tracking is an essential skill in any sport involving a ball or fast moving opponents, enabling athletes to track a moving target with minimal head motion so they remain capable of taking necessary actions quickly. For example, in Tennis, the entire aim is to keep track of a small, fast-moving ball, so you can hit it back onto your opponent’s side of the field, making eye tracking a vital skill.

  • Peripheral Vision

Peripheral vision is your ability to see objects on the edges of your visual field, “out of the corner of your eye.” This grants increased awareness of what is going on around you, especially vital if there are multiple moving objects to keep track of. For example, in fast moving team sports like soccer, it’s important to have good peripheral vision so that players can keep track of both their teammates and opponents as they move up and down the field. Another great example is a pitcher in baseball, who must use their peripheral vision to be able to see if someone is stealing bases. 

  • Dynamic Visual Acuity

Dynamic visual acuity is the skill which enables an athlete to clearly see and track moving objects while they are also in motion. This skill is especially important in sports like tennis, hockey, and cycling.

  • Visual Reaction Time

Visual reaction time is a skill related to hand-eye coordination, and describes the ability to rapidly interpret and take an action based on visual input. This is a skill vital to being able to hit a baseball or return a tennis serve. Pilots and tactical military and law enforcement also require superior visual reaction time. 

  • Visual Memory

Visual memory is a person’s ability to both remember and process fast moving, complex pictures of people and objects. In games with a lot of motion, and in which there are many players involved, this skill enables an athlete to know where teammates and opponents are positioned, and use that information to move up the field at speed while avoiding the opponents. This is a particularly useful skill in team sports like basketball, hockey, lacrosse, and soccer.

  • Visual Concentration

As its name implies, visual concentration is a person’s ability to remain focused on a specific target without becoming distracted by other things happening in their greater field of vision. In sports, this is the ability to stay locked onto the ball despite the movement of fans in the stands, shadows moving along the ground, and other players. In golf, for example, it is heightened visual concentration that allows a professional player to tune out everything except the ball so they can make the perfect shot.

  • Visualization

Believe it or not, visualizing yourself doing something can actually help you do it. Visualization is a skill which lets you see yourself, in your mind’s eye, performing an action while your eyes are seeing something else in real time. This can be especially helpful for those engaging in sports like gymnastics, where they are attempting to perform acrobatic feats. 

Sports Vision Training for Athletes

Sports Vision Training for Athletes

While the field of neuro-optometry and vision therapy is primarily thought of as something used to help people improve vision skills in which they are lacking, it can also be utilized in a more proactive sense. Athletes who may have 20/20 vision can receive huge benefits from training based on these medical disciplines, by improving their vision skills, they can achieve optimal performance in their chosen sport.

 

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Summary

Vision skills play a major role in an athlete’s ability to perform in their sport of choice, with these skills giving them a better ability to keep track of the ball, their opponents, and to react quickly enough in response to visual input, among other things. Vision skills for sports can also be improved through vision therapy, to give athletes an edge over the competition. If this is something of interest to you, give us a call to schedule a sports vision consultation.

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Testimonials


  • 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.

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