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Sports Vision

Sink That Buzzer Beater With Sports Vision Training

basketballIt’s that time of the year again! With March Madness around the corner, the world of college basketball is getting ready for “The big dance”. Who wouldn’t want their team to sink that buzzer-beater at the championship game and take the tournament? Just as Kris Jenkins did three years ago when he hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer that earned his team the championship title.

The annual NCAA tournament has every college basketball player’s adrenalin running extra high. It is the highlight of the season, not only for the teams but also for fans and families.

The Role of Vision in Basketball

Did you ever stop to consider the importance of excellent vision in sinking such an unforgettable shot? When we say vision, we are referring to the visual skills relevant to basketball, which are different from visual acuity, also known as 20/20 sight. Visual acuity of 20/20 only means an athlete can see clearly, but to sink a 3-pointer demands exceptional neuro-visual processing skills involving eyes, nerves, and brain.

Elite athletic performance requires elite visual skills.

To Beat the Buzzer, Players Need Excellent Visual Skills

Let’s look at a few critical visual skills required to net that last-second 3-point shot:

Target assessment. There is no room for error when shooting at the basket, which is a small target relative to the ball. This requires accuracy in assessing the size, distance, and precise location of the basket. A player who wants to master the 3-pointer needs excellent depth perception and visual tracking abilities.

Accurate localization. To shoot like Steph Curry or Damian Lillard, a player must position himself correctly in relation to static objects, such as the basket and the 3-point line. The shooter must also be aware of the defenders’ movements on the floor. This requires accurate localization skills and peripheral vision.

Visual reaction speed. Whether creating a turnover, grabbing a rebound, or taking the last shot, the visual input the player receives must be processed instantaneously. This allows him or her to respond fast enough to beat both, their opponent and the buzzer.

Hand-eye-body coordination. Basketball players are constantly in motion; coordination of movements of eyes, hands, and feet must be synchronized simultaneously to sink any shot on the crowded court.

Visual Boundaries and Peripheral Vision. Establishing precise visual boundaries that enclose the area in which the player must focus his or her attention during the game—in this case, the basketball court— is critical. The athlete must also be able to disregard whatever is located outside these boundaries, such as the audience and advertising signs. One of the reasons teams tend to do better in their home court is that familiar surroundings do not draw the athlete’s visual attention and cause distraction. Excellent control over peripheral vision helps sustain clear visual boundaries.

Visual Attention. A player must be able to maintain a high level of visual attention throughout the entire game. To beat the buzzer, he or she must remain visually alert until the very last second.

Sink That Buzzer Beater With Sports Vision Training from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

Training Visual Skills

Top athletic performance requires elite visual skills. By training an athlete’s basketball-specific visual skills, our team of eye doctors can help improve the overall performance on the court

At Dr. Patricia Fink Optometry we will evaluate your vision skills and determine which to improve for optimal basketball performance. For a functional vision evaluation and to receive your personalized sports vision training program, contact our team of eye doctors today.

Dr. Patricia Fink Optometry trains athletes of all ages from Burlington, Oakville, Hamilton, Dundas, and throughout Ontario .

The Vision Skills Needed for Quarterbacks to Succeed 

man holding football and football uniform in black 140039Here’s a question for you: what do you believe to be the most important skill required for a quarterback to succeed? A good quarterback needs a strong throwing arm, quick feet, strong cognitive skills, and leadership qualities —surely everyone could agree on that. But is that enough to truly excel at the sport?

Quarterbacks tend to intensively train their physical strength without realizing that enhancing their visual and cognitive skills could render their exercise drills more effective. Acute peripheral vision and exceptional reaction time, among other visual skills, are critical to quarterback’s success. Sports vision training lays the cornerstone for these skills and helps players be the athletes they know can be. Contact our team of eye doctors to see how sports vision training can help your child or players improve their game.

Quarterbacks Need Above-Average Vision Skills to Succeed

It goes without saying that a good quarterback needs to have a strong throwing arm. But a strong arm alone does not guarantee success. The quarterback needs to evaluate distance and other players’ speeds accurately, which is where visual skills come in.

Quarterbacks need to be aware of everyone and everything around them and understand the precise location and path of movement of every player. At the same time, they need to follow the ball.

Which Visual Skills Can Sports Vision Training Improve?

In a pass play, the quarterback gets the ball and draws back. Being at the back of the action, he has only a split second to choose among up to five receivers he could throw the ball to. Why only a split second? Because there are anywhere from 3 – 11 rivaling defense players trying to run the quarterback into the ground or get him to make the wrong decision.

Given this scenario, which visual skills are needed for a quarterback to succeed?

Eye Focusing Skills

Following a quick-moving object — i.e. the wide receiver —requires sustained focusing power control and an ability for the eyes to shift quickly and accurately.

Depth Perception

By increasing and stabilizing binocular depth perception, quarterbacks can improve their spatial judgment. If the receiver is farther than you assessed, your pass will not reach him. Is he closer than you thought? He may have to stretch, jump, or run for it.

Peripheral Vision

When the quarterback has the ball, all the opponent’s players’ eyes are on him. Most dangerous are those who can see the quarterback, but he can’t see them because they are at the edge of his visual field. Strong peripheral/side vision prepares quarterbacks to see where the defenders are located at any given time.

Visual Reaction Time

This refers to the speed with which the quarterbacks’ brain interprets and reacts to the opponent’s action. His next step depends on how quickly and efficiently his brain integrates the visual input with motor functions.

Gross-Visual Motor

The quarterback has processed all the information and reached a decision while he was moving. This requires excellent coordination between the eyes, hands, legs, and the rest of the body. Now it is time to act. With vision and movement perfectly aligned, the ball will reach the player the quarterback chooses at the exact point in space and time he decides.

What you just read was a second in a football game. Even though it wasn’t a particularly complicated situation, the advantages of superb visual skills are evident.

The Vision Skills Needed for Quarterbacks to Succeed from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

Enhancing the Performance of a Quarterback

You can train visual skills just like you would any other skill. Optometrists, such as our team of eye doctors, offer sports vision training to help players achieve their goals and take their game to the next level. A functional eye exam will evaluate visual skills, after which our team of eye doctors will create a personal vision training plan. The child will typically receive in-office therapy once or twice a week, coupled with home exercises.

At Dr. Patricia Fink Optometry, we help players be the athletes they know they can be. We train players from Burlington, Oakville, Hamilton, Dundas, and throughout Ontario .

Football Trivia: How Can An Eye Doctor Help Athletes After a Head Injury?

football player holding football 159515Did you know that according to the National Football League’s (NFL) injury data, NFL athletes sustain a combined total of 200-300 concussions per year? Any high-impact sport places the player at high risk for potential brain injury, which can affect other areas and functions of the body – such as vision. Neuro-optometrists can help facilitate healing after a concussion and other brain injuries to help patients regain lost visual abilities and skills.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is the mildest form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and can occur following a forceful impact to the head. In many cases, a concussion doesn’t necessarily lead to unconsciousness or lost vision, but it may result in other symptoms, such as:

  • Memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sluggish feeling
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Headache
  • Balance problems

Symptoms range in severity, depending on the degree of injury and impact. However, studies show that 90% of all concussions result in some form of visual dysfunction.

How Can Concussions Affect Vision?

Those having suffered a concussion may experience a host of visual disturbances, such as blurred or double vision, eyestrain, or problems with reading. Issues with eye coordination or eye-teaming may also develop, as the eyes become misaligned following head trauma. This can cause both visual and cognitive problems, such as difficulty thinking, mood swings, frustration, attention deficits, headaches, and memory issues.

If you or a loved one is faced with a concussion or displays any of the above symptoms following a head injury, it’s important to call Dr. Patricia Fink Optometry for a complete assessment of visual function to regain any lost visual skills and abilities.

How Neuro-Optometrists Treat Sports-Related Injuries

Neuro-optometrists are uniquely trained to diagnose and treat visual aberrations related to concussions. It’s important to note that not all optometrists are trained in this specific area, so it’s best to choose a doctor experienced in treating those with concussions or other traumatic brain injuries.

The neuro-optometrist will begin by assessing your ocular health and evaluating your visual skills, such as eye teaming, focusing, tracking, and depth perception. The diagnostic process follows standardized criteria, after which you will be provided with a personalized treatment plan. This specific therapy, called neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy, aims to improve various acquired visual dysfunctions that follow a head injury.

Football Trivia: How Can An Eye Doctor Help Athletes After A Head Injury? from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

This kind of rehabilitation promotes recovery through various therapies and activities that retrain the neural processes of the brain. By establishing new brain pathways (also known as neuroplasticity), the patient learns to use other parts of the brain in order to recover the function of the impacted regions of the brain, in this case —vision.

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation involves the use of specialized lenses and prisms (among other tools) as part of the rehabilitation strategy. Anyone who displays any of the above symptoms following a TBI should visit a neuro-optometrist to give themselves the best chance at recovery. Sometimes, visual dysfunction can manifest itself in areas that may seem unrelated to vision, such as anxiety, panic attacks or balance/posture problems. Anyone who’s suffered a concussion or TBI, no matter the age, can benefit from a neuro-optometric rehabilitation program.

Accidents occur more often than one would expect. If you or your child suffer from a concussion after a sports injury, you can rely on our team of eye doctors for the expertise and professionalism you need. Call Dr. Patricia Fink Optometry to book your appointment today.

our team of eye doctors provides neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy and other services to patients from Burlington, Oakville, Hamilton, Dundas, and throughout Ontario .

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