Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sports Vision & Basketball

     An area of expertise that I enjoy is called "Sports Vision". 
     This refers to the obvious need for crisp sight in athletic activity.  It also includes a number of other visual skills such a depth perception, peripheral awareness, speed of reaction, timing, eye hand coordination, attention and memory.

     "You can't swish it if you can't see it" refers to sight or acuity.  For an athlete, small amounts of astigmatism or myopia can result in reduced performance.  Today I have tools that can also measure aberrations or distortions in vision.  Contact lenses are usually used with basketball players.  Glasses tend to get in the way with fast moving ball sports.

     The basketball hoop is actually big enough to fit two basketballs!!  Being able to perceive where the ball is in relation to the hoop involves depth perception, eye hand coordination, attention and memory.  It would seem with the hoop being so big that these skills are not very important.  However being reduced by small amounts will result in a missed shot or an air ball.

     Spotting a teammate as you drive to the basket requires excellent peripheral vision, speed of processing, eye hand coordination and attention.  A "ball hog" may just have poor visual skills.  With vision therapy these deficits can disappear.

     Some players don't follow the coaches instructions.  They have difficulty remembering where they should be on the court.  Many times they will run into others.  These symptoms are associated with timing, attention and memory deficits.  It is interesting to note that improvements in timing will often improve auditory processing.  Suddenly a coaches verbal instructions are precisely followed after timing therapy.

     I am amazed by the number of basketball players with visual skill deficits.  These are often very athletically gifted players.  I have been fortunate to work with Olympic and NBA players.  There are always several with visual skill deficits that can be helped, usually with vision therapy.  Performance always improves as these skills are fortified.

--Dr. James Mayer

No comments:

Post a Comment