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The Importance of Contrast Sensitivity In Baseball

Playing Baseball with Contrast SensitivityBaseball players train hard to develop muscular strength and endurance, but did you know that sharp vision and strong visual skills can be just as crucial to your game?

Winning at baseball requires split-second calculations. When a ball spins toward you at lightning speed, figuring out what kind of pitch is approaching can be the difference between a strike and a home run.

The longer it takes you to identify the pitch, the harder it is to hit it, no matter how well-developed your swinging technique is.

To identify the pitch, baseball players need excellent contrast sensitivity. This is the visual skill that enables you to quickly see the ball’s red seams as the white ball approaches — and decide if it’s a knuckleball, fastball or slider.

What Is Contrast Sensitivity and How Can It Make You a Winner?

Contrast sensitivity is the ability to distinguish between an object and its background. It’s a crucial visual skill, because no matter how strong you swing, or how fast you run, your ability to hit that home run is impacted if you can’t distinguish the ball from a cloudy sky, or the red seams from the white part of a moving baseball.

How Baseball Vision Training Can Be a Game Changer

One way you can go from being a good ball player to an outstanding one is to improve your contrast sensitivity. This means adding sports vision training to your regimen.

At Vision Source Specialists in Rapid City we’ll custom-design a program to develop your contrast sensitivity. We’ll begin with a functional eye exam to assess your contrast sensitivity and the other visual skills needed to successfully play baseball.

Sports vision training involves eye exercises that teach the eyes and brain to work together more quickly and efficiently. You’ll meet with us for in-clinic sessions and continue training exercises at home.

See the ball more accurately and be ready to hit it out of the park! Talk to us at Vision Source Specialists and find out how sports vision training can make all the difference in your game.

Our practice serves patients from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, South Dakota and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jared Pearson

Q: How is contrast sensitivity measured?

A: One way to determine contrast sensitivity is through a Pelli-Robson test, which is like a regular eye chart but one that features rows of dark letters that gradually get lighter. Wave grating is another type of contrast sensitivity test and requires you to identify shapes at different spatial frequencies and levels of contrast.

Q: What other visual skills are important for baseball?

A: In addition to contrast sensitivity, the following visual skills can improve your baseball game:

  • Focusing – keeping your eye on the ball
  • Eye teaming – the eyes’ ability to work together to keep track of movements on the field
  • Peripheral vision –detecting activity, such as a player stealing a base, on the edges of your visual field
  • Visual processing – detecting and interpreting visual information so you can hit or catch the ball

 

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Play Soccer? Why You Should Improve Visual Processing Speed and Eye-Body Coordination

Men Playing SoccerSoccer is a fast-moving sport that requires finely-tuned visual skills and quick reaction time. So when you follow a training regimen, don’t forget to get your vision in shape, too.

Sports vision training helps athletes of every age and ability hone the visual skills they need to succeed in their favorite sports.

How to Improve Visual Skills for Soccer

Soccer success requires not only muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance but sharp visual skills that include:

  • Visual processing speed
  • Eye-body coordination
  • Peripheral vision
  • Depth perception
  • Focus

Why Is Visual Processing Speed Important for Soccer?

One reason soccer is such a popular sport worldwide is that it’s exciting and action-packed. Everything in a soccer game happens so fast, that a spectator could literally blink and miss a goal.

Soccer players need to be constantly aware of what’s happening on the field. The faster your brain can process the information your eyes are sending, the more time you have to react. The difference may be a fraction of a second, but in soccer—every second counts.

The Role of Eye-Body Coordination in Soccer

Your body can be in top-notch condition, but without a high level of eye-body coordination that enables your eyes, brain and limbs to communicate at split-second speeds, you won’t be able to block the ball or score a goal. A training regimen that includes building eye-body coordination skills is certain to improve your soccer game.

What Is Sports Vision Training?

Sports Vision Training is a customized program that enables athletes of all levels to improve their visual skills through in-office and at-home eye exercises. The beauty of this training program is that it can fit right into your workout and game schedule. The program is designed just for you, so you can focus on the skills you need to develop to become a better soccer player.

Schedule an appointment at Vision Source Specialists in Rapid City to get a full visual evaluation. We’ll test your current visual skills, identify any deficits and design a sports vision therapy program tailored to your specific needs and abilities. you with a customized program to improve any lagging visual skills.

Want to learn more? Contact Vision Source Specialists today and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Our practice serves patients from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, South Dakota and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jared Pearson

Q: Can sports vision training really improve my soccer performance?

  • A: About 80% of sports performance depends on visual processing and reacting to visual stimuli. After just weeks of sports vision training, many athletes report a marked improvement in their performance. Building visual skills, just like developing muscular strength, plays a crucial role in athletic training.

Q: Which at-home vision training exercises can improve my soccer game?

  • A: As part of a sports vision training program, our experts will prescribe a program of exercises that you can do at the clinic and at home. Some exercises you can do at home include:- For focus flexibility, focus on a close-up object and then focus on another object directly behind it and farther away.
    – For peripheral vision, stand at an intersection, look straight ahead, and check whether you can see cars using only your side vision.
    – For depth perception, hold a straw with one hand extended at arm’s length and drop a small pebble through it with your other hand. While these exercises will give you a general idea of the visual skills you use every day, nothing can replace a comprehensive exam that assesses your visual skill and sports vision training. Speak to us at Vision Source Specialists for your custom-designed sports vision training program.

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Call About Sports Vision 605-399-3937

Martial Arts: Improve Your Reflexes With Sports Vision Training

Martial Arts Improve Your Reflexes With Sports Vision Training 640×350As a martial artist, you want to show your hard-earned skills at every match. While martial artists know the importance of being physically fit, many don’t realize that their visual skills also play a central role in their performance.

Your eyes’ ability to focus, react instantaneously to another’s moves, and see movement from the edge of your visual field are all critical skills to succeed in martial arts. That’s where sports vision training comes in. Regardless of your age or level of ability, sports vision training can boost your visual skills to help you up your game.

What is Sports Vision Training?

Sports vision training is a customized program designed to enhance the communication between your eyes, brain, and body. Athletes who receive sports vision training are able to process visual information faster and react more precisely to what they see on the mat, field or track.

Sports vision training employs a unique set of strategies and exercises that enhances eye-brain communication so the body can respond more quickly, effectively and accurately. Visual skills such as depth perception, hand-eye coordination, dynamic visual acuity and peripheral awareness are all [emphasized] during sports vision training.

Visual Skills for Martial Arts

Visual skills allow the brain to quickly process the images received by the eyes and then relay this information to the body. People who do judo, karate, kung fu, Muay Thai, Krav Maga, Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido among other forms of martial arts rely heavily on these and other visual skills to succeed:

Dynamic Visual Acuity

This is at times referred to as “vision in motion,” or the capacity to see, understand and respond quickly to moving objects. In martial arts, fighters need dynamic visual acuity to accurately follow their opponents’ sudden kicks, throws or punches.

Eye-Hand Coordination

There is a three-way information pathway between our limbs, eye and brain. Any miscommunication between these three can impact eye-hand coordination. If the information is not conveyed quickly and accurately enough, the body may not be able to react in time to fend off an opponent.

From parrying a punch in boxing to grappling in Jiu-Jitsu, hand-eye coordination is required for a wide range of maneuvers and situations. It’s also important for enhancing your general timing in offensive and defensive reactions.

Peripheral Awareness

Your ability to recognize what’s going on at the edge of your vision is known as peripheral awareness. A fighter with a well-developed peripheral field will be able to see everything at once and perceive the battle’s flow.

Combatants of all levels, amateur and professional, can benefit from improving their visual abilities. Giving martial artists the ability to develop their sports vision skills has been shown to help them perform at a higher level.

Contact us at Vision Source Specialists to schedule your appointment with one of our sports vision experts and discover how sports vision training can help you excel in martial arts.

Our practice serves patients from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, South Dakota and surrounding communities.
Request A Sports Vision Appointment
Call About Sports Vision 605-399-3937

Can Vision Be Trained to Improve Sports Performance?

Runner stretching on bridgeTo detect the exact angle of a tennis ball in midday glare, observe the subtle movements of a goalie or focus accurately on a target, you need great visual skills.

How Vision Affects the Performance of an Athlete

Many athletes find that in spite of consistent exercise and hard work, something is preventing them from reaching their goals. Often, it’s their visual system.

In those with a healthy visual system, the eyes accurately relay images to the brain, which quickly turns these messages into actions, such as positioning your arm and hands to catch a ball. This eye-brain-body communication is dependent on the following visual skills:

  • Eye focusing: smoothly changing the focus from object to object
  • Depth perception: detecting the speed and distance of objects
  • Eye-hand or eye-body coordination: the ability to react efficiently to what one sees
  • Eye-tracking: tracking a moving object
  • Dynamic visual acuity: seeing moving objects clearly
  • Peripheral awareness: detecting things in the corner of your eye

Good depth perception helps you gauge the distance between you and the basket, while poor peripheral awareness makes it harder to see players approaching from the side. Proper eye tracking and dynamic visual acuity help you follow the action on the field and hit a target.

Yet even the best visual skills won’t help an athlete if their eyesight isn’t clear. That’s where glasses and contact lenses come into play.

What Glasses and Contact Lenses Are Best for Sports?

If you wear prescription glasses, you should also have a pair of sports glasses to use while you train or participate in a game or a race. Eyewear designed for sports:

  • Maximize vision so you can see clearly for your best performance
  • Prevents eye injuries due to a fast-moving ball or even an errant finger from an opposing player, potentially leading to vision loss
  • Reduces glare all year round

Glasses with silicone padding can keep debris from making contact with your eyes. Choose polarized glasses to reduce glare from reflected light, such as off water, snow or a road surface, or photochromic lenses that will automatically darken as your surroundings get brighter. Impact-resistant lenses can add to the durability and strength of your sports glasses, which are often recommended for intense activity.

Which Contacts Are Best for Sports?

Some contact lenses can be more versatile and comfortable than eyeglasses for sports. They don’t slip, as glasses sometimes do, and may improve your peripheral vision. To protect your eyes from debris, glare or impact, you may need to wear additional protective eyewear or sunglasses along with contact lenses.

Soft contact lenses are often used for sports since they move less on the eye, but some athletes prefer gas-permeable lenses because they may provide clearer vision and offer improved eye health for some patients. Check with your eye doctor which type of contact lenses are best for you based on your vision correction needs and the sports you play.

For less glare and greater color contrast, you may want to consider custom-tinted soft contact lenses. These lenses filter light rays in a way similar to certain tinted optical lenses that may help you see a ball or a target more accurately.

For example, amber tints can be helpful for people who play tennis, soccer, and baseball, while gray-green are sometimes recommended for golf, biking and running.

Can Sports Vision Training Improve Athletic Performance?

Just as you lift weights, run hills and do calisthenics to build your strength, endurance and flexibility, you can get your eyes into shape with sports vision training. A sports vision optometrist can help you improve your visual skills by prescribing exercises to hone your ability to focus, track objects, perceive objects in motion and at the periphery.

How Does Sports Vision Training Work?

A customized sports vision training program helps athletes of all ages and abilities boost the visual skills they need to excel at their chosen sports. During a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will assess both your eyesight and your visual skills. Your eye doctor will then prescribe a personalized program of eye exercises to sharpen your skills based on the exam results, the sports you play as well as your goals.

Studies have shown that sports vision training enhances an athlete’s ability to react faster and more efficiently by improving visual skills. In fact, it’s now an integral part of many sports programs.

Discover ways to boost your visual system so you’re in top shape for the next big game or race. To learn more or speak with a sports vision training eye care professional, contact Vision Source Specialists today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jared Pearson

Q: What are the most common eye injuries sustained in sports?

  • A: Among the most common eye injuries in sports are:
    – Eyelid bruises
    – Eye punctures
    – Eye scratches. These injuries can result from an impact, or debris getting into or penetrating the eye. Some can lead to permanent vision loss while others may only need superficial treatment. Either way, an eye doctor should assess all eye injuries.
  • According to a study done by the University of Cincinnati Division of Sports Medicine, football players who had undergone sports vision training to improve their peripheral vision sustained fewer injuries than those who did not do it.
  • This is because sports vision training helps the eyes and brain react more quickly to changes in the environment, resulting in more successes and fewer accidents.

Q: Is Sports Vision Training exclusively for professional athletes?

  • A: The best thing about sports vision training is that it can help both amateur and professional athletes take their game to the next level. This includes children, teens as well as adults.

References

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4 Tips To Improve Sports Performance

child skiing improving performanceIn sports, being even just a fraction of a second slower than your opponent can make all the difference between lifting a trophy as champion or heading back to the showers.

So what is the best way to achieve your goals? Here are 4 tips to improve your sports performance and be the athlete you aspire to be.

1. Eating and Drinking Right

When planning meals, try to avoid simple carbs and sugars like baked goods, many cereals and fruit juices from concentrate. Instead aim for more complex carbs such as fresh (not canned) fruits and vegetables and whole-grains such as quinoa. These complex carbohydrates break down more slowly, supplying your body with a more steady supply of energy, keeping you full longer.

You should also make sure to have plenty of protein-rich foods in your diet, such as fish, meat and eggs. They support muscle growth and help your muscles recover more quickly after workouts.

When choosing what to drink, water is always the best option. It lacks the added sugars of sodas and juices, wards off dehydration, supports muscle growth and helps prevent muscle tears and cramps during workouts.

To maintain optimal hydration throughout the day, women should aim to drink approximately 2.7 liters of water each day, and men should aim for approximately 3.7 liters.

2. Change Up Your Workouts

Doing the same thing day in and day out for your workout has a number of disadvantages.

First of all, it can get boring. If workouts become monotonous, it’s much more difficult to stay motivated day after day.

Maintaining the exact same workout routine every day can also reduce the effectiveness of those workouts.

Every day or two, you should change the muscle groups you’re targeting and the type of exercise you’re doing. Set up a workout schedule for yourself that emphasizes cardio on some days and strength training on others. Concentrate on your arms one day, your legs the next day and your core another day.

Changing up your workout routine can make it easier to overcome mental blocks around working out, and make those workouts more effective overall.

3. Don’t Neglect Recovery Time After Exercise

Many people don’t realize that recovery time between workouts is just as important as the workouts themselves. Every time you work out, your muscles experience stress and tiny micro-tears. This is why your muscles feel sore and tender after a good workout.

Resting time between workouts allows the muscles to heal thicker and stronger than before. If you ignore muscle soreness and exercise despite the pain, you run a very serious risk of long-term injury that can prevent you from participating in sports for a long time.

Resting after workouts also allows your muscles to recharge their glycogen stores, which are used up during your workout. Glycogen is essentially your muscles’ energy source, so resting between workouts will ensure that your muscles have the energy to work.

Consider skipping your workout every few days to give your body time to rest and recover from the rigors of your exercise routine.

4. Sports Vision Training

Being prepared for sports means more than lifting weights and going for a run. If your eyes have trouble following a moving ball or you react too slowly to a play, your big moment may pass you by.

Sports vision training is a scientifically proven vision therapy regimen that uses in-office and at-home eye exercises to strengthen the connection between the eyes and the brain. These exercises have been shown to improve an athlete’s performance and reaction time.

During a sports vision exam your eye doctor will evaluate your overall vision profile. This includes checking for refractive errors that may affect your ability to clearly see objects close up or far away, and visual skill deficiencies that may make it hard to track objects as they move, or to gauge distances.

Once your eye doctor has evaluated your vision and visual skills, they can construct a customized sports vision therapy regimen that addresses your specific needs, including an emphasis on the particular visual skills required for success in your sport.

To learn more about how sports vision training can boost the visual skills you need to exceed in sports, book an appointment with Vision Source Specialists today!

Our practice serves patients from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, South Dakota and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jared Pearson

Q: What vision skills does sports vision therapy help improve?

  • A: Strong visual skills are an essential part of success in just about any sport you play. Some important visual skills that sports vision training helps you improve include:
  • – Depth Perception – the ability to efficiently and accurately tell how far something is from you, and how fast it’s moving.
  • – Focusing – the ability to quickly and efficiently focus from one object to another.
  • – Eye Tracking – the ability to move your eyes in a continuous, smooth motion to keep moving objects in sight.
  • – Reaction Time – Quickly and accurately registering the presence and movement of an object, and translating that into appropriate action.
  • – Contrast Sensitivity – the ability to see an object and distinguish between it and the background.
  • – Peripheral Awareness – the ability to register objects and their movement in your side vision.
  • – Eye-Hand or Eye-Body Coordination – the ability to coordinate eye and body movements with visual information acquired by the eyes and sent to the brain.

Q: Is sports vision therapy effective for high school and college athletes?

  • A: Absolutely! Sports vision therapy is recommended for both professional and amateur athletes, at any age and skill level. Deficiencies in visual skills can cause high school and college athletes to get frustrated and abandon the sport they love. Sports vision therapy is an excellent way to clear the visual obstacles that may be preventing their success, paving the way to greater enjoyment of the game and greater success.

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Sports Vision Exercises to Try At Home

woman and her daughter exercising at homeNote: the activities here do not replace an eye exam and in-office sports vision training program from an eye doctor experienced in sports vision.

When athletes consider the skills they need to succeed, agility and strength often come to mind. But those aren’t the only skills that matter. Many athletes don’t realize that, when it comes to conditioning, their eyes are an important asset.

An athlete’s capacity to notice, understand and respond to events on the field, both near and far, has a substantial influence on the quality of their play. The intricate capabilities of their visual system are required to dunk that basket, return that serve, receive that pass or knock it out of the ballpark.

There is an entire area of optometry that provides sports vision training, with research to back it up. According to a study published by the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, visual abilities like peripheral perception and reaction time can be improved by means of appropriate visual training.

Sports vision exercises can help improve your peripheral vision, visual memory, hand-eye coordination and much more. Who wouldn’t want to improve their game by doing eye exercises?

Sports Vision Training Exercises at Home

Your eye doctor will recommend an in-office sports vision training program for you based on the sport and the visual abilities you want to develop. Here are some very basic exercises you can do at home until you get to your optometrist’s office.

While home-based exercises are a good first step toward upping your performance, they aren’t a substitute for a sports vision training program designed by an optometrist that is tailored to your individual strengths and weaknesses.

20-20-20 Rule

Your eyes, like your body, need to be as agile as possible. Switching your focus between near and distant objects is a simple way to enhance your focusing skills at home. Look up from your computer and focus on anything 20 inches away, then something farther away, such as looking out a window.

Most sports rely on the ability to change focus from near to far objects, such as a ball or other players.

Visual Memory Games

One way we understand and comprehend information is via visual memory. It’s all about recalling where players are on the field when receiving a pass, or how much spin or curvature the ball had during the previous play. When you play memory games like a children’s matching game, you’re teaching a part of your brain to remember information accurately and quickly. Playing memory games can help improve your speed.

The Turning Tray

Practice reading words in motion. Attach a piece of paper with words to a turning tray and move it at different speeds. Alternatively, attach the paper to a moving door or a bouncing ball. Experiment with font, color, size and familiarity of words to see how many you can read and how quickly.

This exercise can help improve your dynamic visual acuity, which is needed in fast-paced sports like hockey, basketball and tennis. Athletes who play these sports need to be able to see objects clearly while they are moving quickly.

Sidelong Glance

Peripheral vision allows you to see another player from the opposing team rushing toward you, or where your teammate is preparing to pass, from the edge of your visual field. When you’re using a computer or walking outside, practice ‘viewing’ from the sides of your eyes, both right and left. Look for details in your peripheral vision or lean your head to one side to ‘scan’ the activity with a sidelong glance.

One-Eyed Monster

Depth perception is one of the most essential visual tricks your binocular vision provides. This helps you know how far the goal post is. Train each eye separately by kicking or catching the ball with only one eye open. Alternatively, practice this skill by holding a drinking straw at arm’s length and trying to drop a tiny pebble or balled-up piece of paper through the straw with your free hand.

Ping-Pong

Ping-Pong, or table tennis, isn’t just a classic fun game, it’s an excellent way to enhance your eye-hand coordination. It’s a fast-paced game that trains the brain to determine the speed of a moving object and respond accordingly.

Ready to improve your game? Schedule an appointment with Vision Source Specialists, where our eye doctor will assess your visual skills and design a customized sports vision training program to boost your performance in your chosen sport.

Our practice serves patients from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, South Dakota and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jared Pearson

Q: What is sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is a custom-made program that enhances communication between the brain, body, and eyes when participating in sports. Athletes, both professional and amateur, benefit from sports vision training because it helps them process information and react faster and more accurately to what they see on the field.Sports vision training involves a set of strategies and exercises that teach the brain and body to respond to what the eyes see more efficiently and accurately.

Q: Is sports vision training beneficial for everyone?

  • A: Whether you play basketball, football, hockey or tennis, sports vision training is perfect for anyone of any age seeking to take their performance to the next level.

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How Sports Vision Training Can Improve a Quarterback’s Game

How Sports Vision Training Can Improve a Quarterbacks Game 640×350Quarterbacks (QBs) work hard to increase their physical strength but often don’t realize that improving their visual skills can also improve their effectiveness on the field.

In addition to having a powerful throwing arm, quarterbacks must be able to precisely judge distances and the speeds of other players. They need to be aware of everyone and everything around them, as well as every player’s specific location and course of movement — all while following the ball.

Visual skills like accurate peripheral vision and split-second reaction time are crucial to a quarterback’s success. Sports vision training provides the foundation for these abilities and allows players to be the best athletes they can be.

Contact Dr. Jared Pearson to see how sports vision training can help you improve your game.

Which Visual Skills Can Sports Vision Training Improve?

Here are examples of how a quarterback depends on visual skills.

Eye Focusing

QBs need to be able to sustain sharp focus and to shift their eyes and focus rapidly and precisely to judge the exact position of the tight end as the linebackers close the space.

Depth Perception

The quarterback’s ability to accurately judge the position of his receivers sprinting full speed into the end zone depends on sharp and precise depth perception.

Peripheral Vision

All eyes are on the quarterback in possession of the ball, but it’s just as important for the quarterback to keep track of the defensive players as they attempt a sack. QBs with good peripheral vision can see where all the defenders are at any given time.

Visual Reaction Time

Visual reaction time is the speed with which a quarterback’s brain analyzes and reacts to the opponent’s actions. A QB’s next move will be determined by how quickly and well their brain integrates visual and motor functions.

Gross-Visual Motor Integration

While on the move, a quarterback needs to analyze all of the information the eyes are transmitting, and act on it quickly. This requires a high level of coordination between the QB’s brain, eyes and body. The more the quarterback’s vision and movement are synchronized, the more successful the plays will be.

All of this takes a matter of seconds. With good visual skills, a quarterback can make that play seem flawless.

Enhancing the Performance of a Quarterback

We offer sports vision training to help all kinds of athletes achieve their goals and take their game to the next level. A functional eye exam will evaluate visual skills, after which we can create a personalized sports vision training program.

At Vision Source Specialists, we help players be the athletes they know they can be. We offer sports vision training to patients from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, South Dakota and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jared Pearson

Q: What is sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is a custom-made program that improves coordination between your brain, eyes and body while playing sports. Through a series of eye exercises and techniques, it helps athletes react faster and more accurately to what they see on the field.

Q: Who can benefit from sports vision training?

  • A: Whether you’re a quarterback or a linebacker, an avid baseball or hockey player, sports vision training is perfect for athletes of any age and ability seeking to improve their sports performance.

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Call About Sports Vision 605-399-3937

Why Goalkeepers Need Strong Visual Skills

Goalkeeper blocking a goalSports require athletes to be in peak physical condition to play at their best. This doesn’t just include arms and legs, but eyes too. This is especially true for goalkeepers, who need lightning-fast reflexes and incredibly accurate vision skills to guard the goal and catch or deflect the puck or ball and prevent that scoring shot.

Our eye care professionals at Vision Source Specialists can help goalies and other athletes, both amateur and pro, improve their functional vision with sports vision training.

What Visual Skills Does a Goalkeeper Need?

Goalies need to master a range of visual skills in order to prevent the opposing team from scoring. Convergence and divergence, as well as the ability to alternate between them quickly and accurately, are among the most important.

Convergence

Convergence is the eyes’ ability to efficiently and accurately focus on an object as it moves toward you, and up close. Professional soccer players send the ball flying at the net at an average of 70 miles per hour, and a hockey puck in the NHL can be slapped at the goal at a blistering 100 miles per hour. This means that for penalty shots and other fast-moving, close-up plays a goalkeeper’s eyes can have mere fractions of a second to accurately converge on the ball or puck before the goalkeeper needs to decide where to move their body and how to react.

Poor convergence can mean that the goalie’s eyes are too slow to converge on the target, or that they don’t converge accurately, leading to double vision as the ball or puck is incoming.

Either of these situations can make it difficult, if not impossible, to make the save during a fast-paced play.

Divergence

Divergence is the eyes’ ability to efficiently and accurately focus on objects at a distance, and as they move away. This skill is vital for goalkeepers, who need to save shots taken from halfway down the field or ice, and to accurately judge the position and flight of the ball or puck. Divergence also allows the goalkeeper to track shots that rebound out, as well as the movements of the puck or ball in case the opposing team quickly takes another shot.

Poor divergence makes it challenging for the goalie to find or track the target from farther out, or as it moves away from them, from close range into the distance.

Alternating

Being able to efficiently alternate between convergence and divergence is also vital in a fast-moving game. Consider the following play-by-play:

  • Using divergence, a goalkeeper can track a ball or puck from far down the field or ice, until a shot is taken.
  • As the shot comes closer in, they engage their convergence to track it moving toward them.
  • They make a successful save, resulting in a rebound out. Divergence is engaged as the ball or puck moves away from them once again.
  • Within fractions of a second, an opposing player may recover the puck or ball, and attempt another shot. The shot is incoming again, and convergence is re-engaged.

The goalkeeper has only seconds or even fractions of a second to respond, re-focus, and respond again.

How Can Sports Vision Training Help?

Sports vision training is a personalized regimen of eye exercises prescribed by eye doctors to help athletes perfect the visual skills that are most essential for their sport.

Working through the prescribed exercises retrains the athlete’s brain to work faster and more effectively with their eyes, improving convergence, divergence and other visual-motor and spatial skills.

Sports vision training can help goalkeepers of all ages and abilities gain the visual skills they need to stay on top of their game, block shots and save the day.

Have questions about how we can help you play your best game? Visit us or call our office today.

Our practice serves patients from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, South Dakota and surrounding communities.

Request A Sports Vision Appointment
Call About Sports Vision 605-399-3937

Elevate Your Game on the Baseball Field With Sports Vision Training

Improve How You Play Baseball With Sports Vision Training 640×350Hitting a baseball out of the park is widely regarded as one of the most difficult sporting challenges. In Major League Baseball (MLB), batters have less than half a second to meet a 90-mph fastball with the sweet spot of their bat. There is almost no other specialized action in any sport that puts a player’s visual system under such strain.

So why don’t coaches and managers ask their players to utilize sports vision training to boost their performance on the field?

That’s because the value of sports vision training is underappreciated. Many athletes, parents, and coaches don’t realize the central role that visual skills play in athletic ability, and are ignorant of the numerous ways to develop them.

Recognizing A Pitch

There are many kinds of pitches: fastballs, curveballs, screwballs and more.

Batters have only a fraction of a second to identify the type of pitch and react accordingly. Keeping an eye on the ball and assessing speed, motion and direction are highly demanding for a player’s neuro-visual system.

5 Essential Visual Skills for Keeping Eyes on the Ball

  • Convergence – Perfect convergence of both eyes is needed to follow a ball as it flies towards you.
  • Depth perception – In order to assess the distance, speed, and direction of a fast-moving ball, accurate depth perception is needed.
  • Peripheral vision – Is required to stop a base-stealer and achieve that double-play.
  • Eye teaming – To keep track of a flying ball, the eyes must be perfectly synchronized.
  • Speed of focus – Your eyes must constantly refocus when a ball is racing toward you at 70 to over 90 miles per hour.
  • Visual processing speed – It’s critical for the brain to be able to quickly process all of the visual information sent to it.

Sports Vision Training for Baseball

Just as intense physical exercise helps baseball players boost their physical endurance, strength, speed and fine motor skills, sports vision training helps them improve their depth perception, focusing and visual processing speed.

A sports vision training program is customized for each player based on an evaluation of their visual skills with a specific focus on baseball requirements.

To start boosting your visual skills and performance, contact Dr. Jared Pearson at Vision Source Specialists today.

We train athletes from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, South Dakota and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jared Pearson

Q: What is sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is a custom-made program that improves coordination between your eyes, body and brain while playing sports. It involves exercises and techniques that help athletes process the information their eyes are sending the brain more quickly and accurately.

Q: Who can benefit from sports vision training?

  • A: Whether you’re pitching or up at bat, sports vision training is perfect for anyone of any age and ability seeking to take their performance to the next level.

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Request A Sports Vision Appointment
Call About Sports Vision 605-399-3937

The Importance of Binocular Vision in Sports

The Importance of Binocular Vision in Sports 640Binocular vision is the ability to create a single image with both eyes while maintaining visual focus on an object. Sometimes our eyes fail to integrate visual information into one coherent image. This integration is important, as it allows athletes to perceive three-dimensional depth and relationships between people or objects, such as another player or a ball.

Since each eye is in a different position relative to any object, the eyes convey slightly different spatial information and send these varying images to the brain. The brain then uses the differences between the signals from the two eyes to accurately judge depth, speed, and distance.

When binocular vision isn’t operating at peak capacity, it impacts an athlete’s reaction time and the speed and accuracy of their movements.

Reduced binocular vision doesn’t mean that athletes are constantly falling over or fumbling. What it does mean, however, is that they may misjudge the velocity or direction of a ball, or collide more with other players.

How Does Reduced Binocular Vision Affect Athletes?

When our brain and eyes don’t work efficiently as a team, especially while playing sports, it can affect timing, depth perception, reactions, accuracy, and speed.

Visual deficits hinder how an athlete responds to what they see. If there is an issue with a player’s vision, there will most likely be an issue with their balance and body awareness.

Visual Skills Needed For Sports

There are many visual skills athletes need to perform their best during a game.

Accommodation – is the eyes’ ability to change their focus from distant to near objects and vice versa. For example, when a football player looks at other players coming toward them, then shifts focus to the ball on the field.

Binocular Vision – is the ability to maintain visual focus on an object, creating a single visual image with both eyes. Without binocular vision athletes cannot accurately measure distance and depth.

Depth Perception – is the ability to distinguish the distance to, or between, objects. This is important for athletes when they need to hit or interact with moving objects.

Dynamic Visual Acuity – the ability to see a moving object when a player is stationary, or when the object is still and the athlete is in motion. It’s the eyes’ ability to visually discern detail in a moving object, such as a player’s number on a jersey.

Peripheral Vision – is the ability to see objects and movement outside of your direct line of vision. This is important for athletes, especially when they need to run down a field and be able to see other players coming at them from all directions.

Saccades – quick, rapid, simultaneous eye movements between two or more stationary objects in the same direction. For athletes it’s important to be able to see stationary objects, such as a hoop at the end of the court.

Smooth Pursuits – reflexive eye movements that are required when tracking an object through an environment, such as a flying ball. Instead of the eye moving in jumps, it moves smoothly.

Sports Vision Training

Sports vision training can improve all the visual skills an athlete needs to succeed at their game. Even if an athlete has ‘20/20 eyesight’ they may still have reduced binocular vision, and sports vision can help improve any lagging visual skills. Sports vision is an individualized training program that focus on improving visual skills so that athletes can improve their performance.

The ability to enhance an athlete’s sports vision skills is a proven way to improve performance. To learn more about how sports vision training can help you reach your goals, contact us at Vision Source Specialists today.

Vision Source Specialists serves patients from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, all throughout South Dakota.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jared Pearson

 

Q: What is sports vision training?

  • A: Sports vision training is a customized program that improves the communication between your brain, eyes, and body. It helps athletes process information more accurately and react faster to what they see on the field.

Q: Why is sports vision training important?

  • A: Athletes in visually demanding sports need to have exceptional visual skills. This is true for all sports, where the ability to focus, react quickly, and move fast can mean the difference not only between winning and losing, but between incurring an injury and staying safe.

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Request A Sports Vision Appointment
Call About Sports Vision 605-399-3937