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 Manhattan

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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At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.


Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.


Steve Fay

Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.


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