Athletes use vision exercises to improve their game. In my book, See To Play, I devote two chapters to help athletes start down this path.
I recently ran across a youtube on Matt Ryan's use of vision exercises. I wanted to use this months blog to share it with you.
Having a foreign body fly into an eye is part of sports. Having an eye accidentally poked or hit is part of sports. Blurred vision from perspiration getting in the eye is a part of sports.
But, how you treat these different conditions can determine how well an athlete sees during the remainder of the competition.
EYE WASH TO GET STUFF OUT
Use eye wash, or saline, to help wash out foreign bodies that get into the eye such as dirt, sand, grass, and the like. Also, use eye wash to clear out sunscreen or chemicals that happen to have been rubbed in the eyes.
Eye wash does a great job of cleaning the eye but it causes the front part of the eye, the cornea, to dry out which blurs athletes' vision
EYE DROPS TO CLEAR VISION
Use artificial tear eye drops to help restore vision after eye wash was used to clean stuff out. My favorite brands for this are Systane Ultra, Refresh Advanced, or the individual preservative free Refresh.
These drops moisturize the cornea back to a more normal state and helps vision clear up.
Avoid whitening drops because they tend to dry the cornea out and can possibly cause the pupils to dilate slightly.
The eyes take the pictures...... but vision is formed in the brain.
The occipital lobe in the back of the brain is responsible for taking the information from the eyes and forming vision. It is the vision center.
Ocular migraines occur when blood flow to the occipital lobe is changed. People with these start noticing wavy flashing lights. Many are multicolored but some can be devoid of vision all together. This picture shows an example of both.
There have been triggers noted that can cause these to occur such as bright lights, caffeine, stress, and dairy products.
Specialty tinted contact lenses can be used to help athletes whose migraines are triggered by light. Especially if they play a daytime outdoor sport. These contacts act as a protective layer, like sunglasses, to protect the eyes from the bright lights.
If you're an athlete who suffers from ocular migraines, be sure to ask your eye doctor about this type of contact lenses.
Athletes are born with a certain amount of muscle mass. This is a physical trait. Athletes bodies change and grow. They also train to increase muscle mass and strength.
Athletes are born with a certain amount of speed. This is a physical trait. They begin training to increase their speed so they can perform better in their athletic performance.
Vision is also physical trait of athletes. Vision can change just like strength and speed.
Think about what you've heard athletes say:
Or conversely, you've heard:
If we use athletes own words, we understand vision as a physical trait which increases and decreases. With this being the case, we realize vision traits are something athletes can improve by using proper equipment (such as glasses/contacts/surgery) and training (vision exercises).
In my book, See To Play: The Eyes of Elite Athletes, I break these physical vision traits down in detail. I also present how uncorrected and weaker visual traits can cause athletes to fall short of reaching their genetic athletic potential. 2 out of 5 athletes will not make it to the professional sports level because of vision.
I list sixteen See To Play Tips on page 281 of my book. These tips also refer you back to the chapter providing the complete detailed information.
I’ll briefly describe the first 5 tips in my blog today. Some of these are based in fact. Others are based on tendencies (such as the tendency of how pulling your back leg up to early affects your tennis serve, how bat speed and position tendencies affect hitting a baseball,…etc) Vision tendencies have been observed and noted by sports vision specialists and athletes for over four decades.
See To Play Tip 1: See the best, be the best! See first, be first! (Ch. 2)
A study revealed that the average MLB player had 20/12 vision. 20/20 is average vision. Some people have more receptors packed in their retina that they have higher definition vision. The best a human can see is 20/8 which is due to genetics.
See To Play Tip 2: Athletes miss to the side of the better-seeing eye. (Ch. 2)
If an athletes right eye is 20/15 and the left eye is 20/20, there is a tendency for the athlete to miss to the right in aiming and performing.
See To Play Tip 3: Being one unit off in an eye prescription alters an athletes reaction time. (Ch 2)
Under corrected nearsightedness causes the tendency for an athlete’s reaction time to be slower (a right-handed batter will miss or foul out more to the first base side).
Under corrected farsightedness causes the tendency for an athlete to react too quickly (a right-handed hitter will miss or foul out more to the third base side).
See To Play Tip 4: Astigmatism likes the light and not the dark. (Ch 2)
Astigmatism is the front part of the eye shaped like a cone or football instead of round dome. Athletes pupils are smaller when its bright, so they see the world more through the tip of the cone which is round. Athletes pupils are larger in dark and this causes vision to be distorted because more of the cone shape is used.
See To Play Tip 5: Elite athletes have a larger detailed vision zone. (Ch 3)
Tip 1 talks about athletes having better vision. Tip 5 teaches us that elite athletes have a larger area of that better vision (known as detailed vision).
Think of it this way: In the middle of a dart board or shooting target is a bull’s eye. This represents the area on the board where most points are scored when hit. Now, if you were in a competition and were given the opportunity to have a larger bull’s eye circle than your opponent, wouldn’t you chose to do so?
Elite athletes have larger bull’s eye area of their 20/20+ vision. They see better and in more area of the field.
There you go! I’ve just given you a short sample of some of the physical vision traits that are discussed in detail in my book, See To Play. Vision is a physical trait and how athletes see can be improved.
If you're a serious athlete, a coach of a serious athlete or a parent of serious athlete, you must have these physical vision traits evaluated and get on a program to strengthen how you see to play.
It’s affecting your game.
See To Play: The Eyes of Elite Athletes was written to help athletes learn about what it takes from a vision standpoint to become a professional athlete and how to perform at your genetic athletic potential.
We dedicated two chapters to vision exercises that are geared to improve common deficits found in athletes' visual systems which interfere with achieving at peak performance. These exercises were designed to be easy for athletes to reproduce at home and use items that are commonplace
We added variations on most of these vision exercises. Some of these variations include vision tools that are not so common place but would be available on our website.
Since our book's publication in 2012, there have been several changes to how athletes can find these items.
We have just updated our Vision Exercise Store to help athletes find these items. Many of these are now easily accessible at the manufacturers websites. This brings a savings to you.
Stop by our new Vision Exercise Store tab to see the improvements that we have made!
I haven't reviewed too many books on my website, but I felt this book was worth a mention.
I've had several competitive shooters travel to Raleigh, where I practice, to have their visual systems evaluated. We are able to break down the visual system of each athlete in a manner to recognize flaws or weaknesses. We then give a strategy for vision training to help athletes improve those areas.
I blogged about the art of aiming a couple months ago. This is a basic trait for most sports but is especially important in rifle and gun sports.
I just recently read a book, Sports Vision Training for Shooting Performance by Wes Kennedy. I really enjoyed it!
It is easy to read and has great artwork to demonstrate the topics. It breaks down the visual system in a manner that is easy to understand. The topics are the same ones found in my book, See To Play, but the author discusses these areas as they relate to shooting sports.
There are vision exercises to help the athlete improve the functioning of their visual system.
I highly recommend this book.
I also believe that if you want to go more in depth on vision exercises and the break down of the visual system as it relates to athletics, your next read should be See To Play. We also give you more options in training the visual system.
The recently released, See To Play Gaze Stabilization Exercise would be a great addition to the gaze stabilization exercises mentioned in the shooting book and is available at Bernell.com
Fast near vision focus after forty is a fleeting thing! Think of that tennis ball or softball coming at you!
Our eyes have lenses in them behind the colored parts (iris) whose purpose is to focus clear at objects far away and then zoom in like a camera lens to focus at small things up close.
Some athletes are born with a weaker focusing system and in my book, See To Play, we give several exercises to help improve the focusing system. This focusing systems starts weakening in all of us after the age of forty, and sometimes the same exercises found in my book for the young, will also help the over forty athlete.
Since I wrote my book in 2012, there are several vision exercise developments that aided people in keeping their focusing systems working better instead of succumbing to the aging process.
One such app that has been recommended to me over and over is the Glasses Off App.
This app as been shown to help people keep their focusing ability moving so they can put off grabbing reading glasses to help them see a menu or focus on the computer. If we extrapolate that out to the athletic world, it quite possibly is helping them focus better on incoming targets such as tennis balls and softballs.
You can follow this link to get more information on this app:
In my book, See To Play, I discuss the benefits of using Nike Sparq Strobe glasses in vision training. This improves concentration and also helps athletes filter out visual noise to enhance their athletic performance.
Nike has moved out of the vision training world since my book was published five years ago.
But don’t fear!
Senaptec has stepped in to make this technology available to athletes. These glasses are very similar to the Nike strobe glasses that you read about in See To Play.
Follow this link to find out more information about this technology and purchasing information:
Allergy season is here!! Baseball, soccer, lacrosse and track athletes are out there in the pollen…many suffer the effects of seasonal allergy symptoms in their eyes.
These symptoms include watery, itchy, red eyes and may even develop into a mild sticky white discharge.
Many people take over the counter allergy medication such as Allegra and Zyrtec.
What eye drops can you use to help clear the eye symptoms further?
My favorite over the counter drop to recommend is Zaditor. It can be found in many pharmacies and grocery stores. This drop used to be prescription only but is now over the counter. Contact lens wearers can use the drops before they put in their contact lenses and then use a drop at night after contact lens wear is over for the day.
Another drop that people find useful for allergy eye symptoms is Alaway.
I recommend staying away from drops that state they whiten the eyes such as Visine, Optocon and Naphcon A. The agents that cause the blood vessels to shrink can also cause the pupils of the eyes to mildly dilate which may interfere with vision.
Now…..get out there and enjoy the day!
Are you getting ready to sink the game winning free throw or tournament winning putt? Are you getting ready to throw the ball for the winning touchdown or pitch the last strikeout to win the game? Are you getting ready to pull the trigger for the clay target or bag the trophy hunt? Do you see that spot that opens the net for the game winning goal?
So.....how do you aim?
There is an art to aiming.
I cover it in detail in my book, See To Play: The Eyes of Elite Athletes. I also give you tips on aiming more accurately and exercises to improve your aim.
In my blog today, I’ll go over a few of those pointers;
This is the art of aiming in a nutshell.
Do you want to improve how you aim?
It’s a simple as going to your eye doctor to fix the first four steps. Many athletes fool themselves into believing they see well enough. The problem with that thinking is that the best athletes see the best. Why do you want to give them a head start? (why don’t you just tape a few fingers together....that will really help them beat you)
There are many ways to help you improve insteps 4 through 7. My book is full of such vision exercises.
I also developed, the See To Play Gaze Stabilization Exercise (also known as the “Eye Baller”) which trains all of those areas.
I wish you only the best in your aim and the outcome of your sports move.
See the Best and Be the Best!!
Welcome to my blog! I hope this helps you learn a little more about me and also keeps you up to date on my fun world of sports vision.