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How Visual Skills Affect Soccer Performance

Women on a soccer team celebratingWhether you’re an amateur soccer enthusiast or the next Cristiano Ronaldo, you know how important it is to physically and mentally get yourself in shape.

Unfortunately, vision's crucial role in being a successful athlete is often overlooked.

Being able to track a soccer ball in motion, see players at the edge of your visual field and react in a split second requires top-notch visual skills. When even one visual skill is deficient, it can negatively affect your sports performance.

The good news is that sports vision training can help athletes improve the visual skills they need to play soccer and any other sport. Schedule a consultation with Grand Developmental Vision Institute in Winnipeg to learn more.

What is Sports Vision Training?

Sports vision training is a personalized form of vision therapy aimed at developing specific visual skills in athletes. The exercises in a sports vision program train the brain and eyes to work together more quickly and effectively to improve visual functioning.

First, your sports vision optometrist will assess your eyesight and visual skills. If there are deficits, your optometrist will design a training regimen of eye exercises to help you hone those skills.

Sports vision training involves close monitoring and follow-up appointments to ensure steady improvement.

Which Visual Skills Do You Need to Play Soccer?

People rely on 17 visual skills to interact with the world around them. The ones most crucial to soccer include:

  • Dynamic visual perception is the ability to see moving objects with clarity. This is very important in a sport that’s constantly in motion.
  • Eye focusing is a skill used to quickly transfer your focus from near objects (e.g. the ball) to mid-distance objects (e.g. defenders) to faraway objects (e.g. goal posts).
  • Eye tracking is needed to keep your eyes on the ball as it changes direction and is passed between players. This ability also allows you to maintain balance and follow the path of the ball and players to ensure you’re in the correct position of play.
  • Depth perception is hugely important to any soccer player because it is essential for judging the distance and speed of objects. It’s needed for assessing the location of opponents, teammates, goals, the side-line, the ball, and other objects. Good depth perception allows the accurate timing of certain actions, such as heading the ball or receiving an assist.
  • Hand-eye coordination, or in this case, foot-eye coordination allows your brain to interpret information about moving objects or other visual stimuli and accurately react with your body. This facilitates dribbling, passes, free-kicks, shooting, and timing.
  • Peripheral vision is the ability to see your surroundings without turning your head. Seeing objects on the edge of your field of view allows you to focus on the ball and be aware of teammates or opponents nearby.
  • Reaction time allows you to read the field with a quick scan, absorb all the information and react quickly.

Sports Vision Training at Grand Developmental Vision Institute

So how do you hone the skills mentioned above? The answer is sports vision training. Just as you would train your muscles at the gym with a personal trainer, a sports vision optometrist will help you fine-tune necessary vision skills with eye exercises customized to your needs.

Ready to level up? Contact Grand Developmental Vision Institute in Winnipeg to schedule a sports vision consultation and learn more about our services.

Our practice serves patients from Winnipeg, Selkirk, Portage La Prairie, and Brandon, Manitoba and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Matthew Anderson

Q:  What can you expect from a sports vision eye doctor appointment?

A. A sports vision optometrist will perform a series of tests to assess your eyesight as well as your visual skills and then work with you to custom-make a vision training program specifically aimed at developing the skills you need to play your sport of choice.

Q: Does sports vision training work? 

Yes! A sports vision training program designed by an optometrist with experience in the field of sports vision is a proven method of improving your athletic performance. That’s why so many athletes’ training programs include sports vision training.

Request A Sports Vision Appointment