UNC basketball’s great Phil Ford gave his thoughts about the physical attributes of current point guard Kendall Marshall who has just had wrist surgery for a broken bone in hopes to play tonight.
Phil stated, “But I hope he can play, because he sees passes on the court I never saw. That vision is what sets him apart.”
In my book See To Play, you learn that this type of vision can be measured. Those measurements can be used to determine which athletes have what it takes visually to become an elite athlete.
It doesn’t take just vision, but that’s the biggest building block. The next step is hard work, hours and hours of practice, and preparation (both mentally and physically).
March Madness Continues!
The marathon run is a 26.2 mile race that you have painstakingly trained to run. As a matter of fact, you’ve trained for over 4 months for this particular event.
You’re ready. The race starts. The mass of humanity lunges forward. The crowd of spectators along the road side is large with the many family members and well-wishing friends of each runner.
The group procession follows the lead bike along the course. You’ve been in the front group for a few miles as you notice that the spectator crowd has thinned out to barely non-existent. Now, it’s just the few runners in the lead group, the lead bike still directing the path and the road ahead.
You pass the 8 mile mark and you are in first place. Your body is in a rhythm and so is your mind. The lead bike turns off to the side and you follow along, as does the guy running in second place. The rest of the lead pack is actually content to follow as well.
The problem is: This is the point of the race where the bike is designated to turn around, marking the end of its day as the lead. You’re now the leader and your race course continues down the road behind you. The visual lure of the bike turning made you run off the course (as well as the guy beside you and a few others).
Visual noise defeats athletes. It is a part of every game. Athletes have to prepare visually for their event or game. They have to prepare for what they are going to see. There will be visual clues that help them perform better and they will see things that lead them astray.
I write this story truly as fiction. I imagine it is not too far off from what occurred at this year’s Tobacco Road Marathon which was run in Durham, NC this past weekend. I wasn’t in attendance but read the newspaper account (Click here to read the story). I’m betting this story is much like what those first runners experienced.
The runner in third place at the time everyone turned off course listened to the volunteers telling him he was going the wrong way. He turned around, got back on course and won the race 18 miles later.
Another great example of why athletes should prepare for visual noise. See To Play has a whole chapter devoted to visual noise, helping athletes define it and then prepare for it.
See To Play picked up a great review and recommendation from Sandy Krum this past week. He is currently the Head Athletic Trainer of NBC’s The Biggest Loser. You may have just seen him on a recent episode when a contestant fainted and he jumped in to catch the contestant.
Sandy has had an impressive career. I met him in 1991 when he was the head trainer for the Carolina Mudcats (which was the “A” affiliate team of the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time). Sandy moved up their ladder and also went on to with the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs.
Sandy was one of the first progressive and forward thinking trainers I have had to fortune to work with in caring for athletes. He did his normal duties of providing top notch care to the athletes as they trained, competed and recuperated. But, he went beyond that by isolating ways for each athlete so that they reach their genetic potential. (Paying attention to visual issues was one such avenue.)
There are a lot of great memories from back in those days, including Michael Jordan’s trip to the Mudcat stadium in 1993. A few years later, there were so many former Mudcats on the Pittsburgh Pirates starting team that locals in Carolina began calling them the Pittsburgh Mudcats.
A special thanks goes out to a great trainer and human being, Sandy Krum! I’m sure will be hearing more of him as he continues his stellar career.
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.