By Don Teig O.D., F.A.A.O.
Eye Tracking (The SMI Eye Tracking Glasses)
This wireless apparatus is worn by the athlete much like one would wear eyeglasses. The difference is that a miniature camera is positioned to project where your eyes are aiming when following a baseball or tennis ball or lining up a putt. In “real time” these glasses will record on a computer, an I-Pad or an I-Phone video of the exact position of your where your eyes are aiming. You will be able to see a “lifesaver” target at the exact place that the athlete is looking. The goal here is to provide you with immediate feedback of your tracking performance on the playing field so that your High Performance Vision trainer can work with you to break down your tracking flaws quickly and effectively.
Anticipation (The Bassin Anticipation Timer)
In many sports, an athlete’s ability to predict the future location of a moving object (like a ball) is essential to their degree of success. Whether the object is coming at them or traveling away from them, the goal is to time it right. Whatever the sport may be, this device uses a series of tracks with lights positioned equally on the path. The object is to anticipate the final point in space where the last light will illuminate. A motion sensor or a trigger will time in milliseconds the accuracy of that athlete’s response.
The intermittent brightness and darkness created by a strobe light or specially designed strobe effect eyeglasses, challenges an athlete to maintain their concentration during the demands of their sport. The goal here is to start out with a reasonably rapid flash and, as training progresses, attempt to accomplish performance goals at slower light and dark intervals. Obviously the slower the light exposure intervals, the tougher the task becomes. NOTE: There is evidence that exposure to a strobe effect can cause epileptic seizures in people who are predisposed to this condition.
Eye-Hand Coordination (The VMET – Visual Motor Enhancement Trainer)
Eye-Hand-Foot Coordination involves the integration of the eyes and the hands/body as a unit. The eyes must lead and guide the motor (movement) system of the body. The VMET is a large mounted board with real sports backgrounds. The equipment concentrates on assessing and improving visual-motor performance. An athlete is asked to react to randomly illuminated lights by touching them within the time limit that is pre-programmed. Deficits in this ability can affect all levels of performance that require movement of the athlete, racket, bat, ball, etc.
Just recently, an innovative computer software program called Ultimeyes was introduced to train the brain to see clearer and sharper. It is especially valuable for low light games as Ultimeyes trains the brain to maximize edge detection. The device itself is interactive and combines vision, hearing, and touch to create a multisensory environment which produces greater visual improvement. Furthermore, many research studies show the visual cortex of the brain can improve in both children and adults. One must think of Ultimeyes as a program to exercise vision. The Ultimeyes workout consists of players interacting with the software program four times weekly for thirty sessions, each session lasting about 20-25 minutes. Each session tests the vision prior to training and customizes the training to the user during that session. Although Ultimeyes has not been studied from a long term standpoint, other brain studies show these results can last for years. Occasional training (once a week or once monthly) may be necessary to maintain the highest results. Repetition, attention and a scientifically proven program are keys to vision enhancement. The software program is available through the website Ultimeyesvision.com and also available as an app at the ITunes store for IPads 2 and above, IPad Mini 2, Android devices and may soon be available for IPhones.
Eye To Hand Speed (The MOART apparatus)
I’m sure you have heard an athlete being described as having “quick hands”. When you think about it, aren’t we really saying that this athlete has quick eye to hand speed? In other words, we are measuring an athlete’s ability to react and respond with his hands to a visual signal. In has often been stated that hitting a major league fastball is most likely the hardest thing to do in sports. After all, players are voted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame for failing seven out of ten times in their efforts to hit the baseball in fair territory for a base hit! Here are the startling facts. A pitched baseball arrives at home plate in approximately .4 seconds. The batter has .2 seconds to make a visual judgment as to the speed and location of the ball. He then has another .2 seconds to successfully make contact with the ball in his effort to get on base. Difficult to do? You bet it is!
So how do High Performance Vision specialists measure Eye to Hand Speed? An excellent device is the MOART instrument (Multi Operational Apparatus For Reaction Time) . It measures in milliseconds one’s Eye to Hand Speed.
Having retired from private practice this year, I am actively traveling the country training practices on how to incorporate the Sports Vision / High Performance Vision niche into their array of specialty services. I am also the Executive Director of a national group of practices who have been trained in this specialty. We call ourselves “The A Team” – High Performance Vision Associates. For more information on my Consulting Program or “The A Team” I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or DonTeig@HighPerformanceVisionAssociates.com.