How long does it take you to read a situation and make a decision in crucial moments? Something that makes the Investec Hockey Academy unique is that we focus on the bigger picture of the game – not just on natural talent and on-field skills, but also the behind-the-scenes training that contributes greatly to individual development.
We show you why your vision and processing are vital factors on the field and teach you how to react quicker through vision training exercises you can do at home.
Sports vision is defined as the ability to use the information perceived by the retina of our eyes to enhance performance. It becomes important when reading the play of your teammates and opposition, as well as spotting opportunities to defend or score goals.
In retrospect, there is always that voice inside telling you what you should have done in that dire moment or opportunity – changing the result of the game. Refining your vision and reaction skills could enable you to make smarter, faster decisions on the field and to listen to that “voice”.
There are different elements to sports vision that can enable a player to react quickly in any given situation.
- Static Visual Perception –the degree of detail seen by the eyes at a distance or the ability to judge the distance of an object by its size.
- Dynamic Visual Perception –the ability of the eyes to focus on another player in motion.
- Eye Movements –the ability to use both eyes to focus on an object and an athlete; regardless of whether either are stationary or in motion. For example; a ball and a player travelling separately but near to each other.
- Depth Perception –the ability to use both eyes to judge the distance between a player and an object (the ball).
- Peripheral Vision –the ability to focus on an object and what is taking place around the object outside the central focus. For example; a player with the ball and the other players near to the player and to you.
- Hand-Eye Coordination –the ability to see an opportunity and to react physically at the same time. For example; you see an open teammate within pushing distance and immediately push the ball to her.
PUT INTO PRACTICE
Not sure how to improve on the elements above? Here’s a fun game to keep you occupied and improve your hockey during the holidays.
This is something you have probably already done without realising its benefits. The basic idea of this game is to not let the balloons touch the ground. Get three full balloons (in different colours) and use your body to keep them in the air. Be sure to include your hands, knees and feet to get all limbs into practice. Once you find that easy, start changing your body positions into a pattern of standing, squatting, kneeling and on your back to get the full benefit for hockey.