Vision is much more than just seeing the ball flying at your face clearly. It is much more than seeing the ball, ducking and hoping for the best. Vision is the ability to see the ball, locate it in space and coordinate yourself to catch it. It is the ability to understand where the ball is, where it will be and what you have to do to avoid a concussion. Vision is pretty important when you think about it, especially when you are playing sports.
Have you ever heard the saying “keep your eye on the ball”? For superior sports performance (and concussion avoidance – whatever floats your boat), this is completely true. One must be able to see moving targets (people and balls) clearly. They must be able to track the target as it moves, change focus from one target to another, judge the speed and the distance of the target, be aware of what is going on around them and have pretty adequate eye-hand coordination. All. At. Once.
So it makes sense then that many of our Vision Therapy patients are future sports stars in training. We have cricketers, footballers, horse riders, netballers and some pretty impressive handballers! Some patients see us because they are already pretty good at their favourite sport but their vision is holding them back from being the best. Other patients are completing vision therapy because they want to be able to play sports with their friends and keep up with the other kids. There are also the patients that simply want to navigate the school playground without constant fear of flying objects.
Now don’t be fooled, just because kids make up a large proportion of our patient cohort we aren’t limited to the younger age groups. We see also women who want to be able to play tennis with their friends on a Wednesday, men who want a better edge when competing with their football team on the weekend and a couple of older patients who want to improve their balance and coordination so they can throw a ball around with the grandkids when they are babysitting.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. A team of psychologists studied a group of baseball players and found that after completing a little over 24 vision therapy sessions, the players batting averages and reading accuracy improved by 30%. Another study examined a group of college students who received cricket training and a group who received visual training. The vision training group performed significantly better and the researchers concluded that vision therapy results in improved sports performance. Even famous American footballer Larry Fitzgerald admits that he would not have had such a successful career as a sports star without the help of vision therapy.
Sports vision training is done on a sport-specific basis with a custom-tailored program for each sport and athlete. If you are having trouble getting to the next level in a particular sport or simply wish to enhance your performance, contact one of our Behavioural Optometry practices in Sydney today.