I have 20/20 vision - isn’t that enough?
Well, it’s a good start, but 20/20 is a static measurement and it simply means that you can see the Optometrist’s chart clearly under controlled conditions where you’re viewing a 2-dimensional chart, in good light, and both you and the chart are stationary. But to play a dynamic sport well requires well developed dynamic acuity which involves visual skills like depth perception, peripheral awareness, and the ability to track rapidly moving objects as they move toward or away from you, while you are also in motion. It’s like the difference between watching your favorite movie in ‘stereo’, or ‘surround sound’.
Can peripheral vision really be improved?
There is a difference between ‘peripheral vision’ and ‘peripheral awareness’. Peripheral vision cannot be changed. What you’re born with is what you’ve got, and barring injury or disease, it’s what you will die with. On the other hand, peripheral awareness can be greatly enhanced by using retinal stimulation.
Retinal stimulation involves having the athlete maintain their focus directly in front of them while simultaneously reacting to a target that is rapidly moving in their peripheral field. At first, objects in the periphery may seem very murky and indistinct, but with training the athlete will quickly become more aware of them and as a result, react faster to peripheral action without losing their focus on the key target or objective. This improvement in peripheral awareness translates directly to improved athletic performance.
How does stress most often affect an athlete’s game, especially those ‘all-important’ games?
Stress causes loss of concentration and peripheral tunnelling; two problems that go hand in hand most of the time. As important as it is to maintain a high level of focus on your key target or objective, it’s equally important that you don’t allow yourself to become so focused that you start to tunnel, because when that happens you not only lose awareness of peripheral action, you also become oblivious to verbal cues.
How can you be so sure that this will work for me?
We have scientific proof that the training program works. The initial studies were conducted using a Special Forces team, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of the results for you and your particular game, because the program is applicable to any activity that requires instantaneous recognition and reaction. The skills that have been identified as essential to effective performance in military and police tactical units are basically identical to those that are essential to consistently effective performance in every dynamic sport, including yours.
What can I expect? How much will I improve?
It will vary from athlete to athlete based on initial skill levels and the amount of time and effort put into the training sessions, but over a 6 month period you should see about a 20% hike in almost every skill level.
The improvement doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort, just like weight training. The first thing that will improve is your peripheral awareness and your ability to stay focused. Generally that will happen after about 4–6 weeks. Within 8–10 weeks you will notice improvement in the speed and accuracy of your physical responses. At this point you will also start to notice more consistency in your performance from game to game. Peak performance levels should be reached in about 4–6 months, at which point we concentrate on maintaining that level.
While you are actively training there will be improvement, or maintenance, depending on your schedule. But just as in weight training, if you stop, it doesn’t take long before you start to lose what you have gained. Dynamic Edge Sports Vision training is the same. It will require dedication and persistence.
What about a guy like Wayne Gretzky? Can you really improve guys who are already at the NHL level?
Absolutely! Although Gretzky was the greatest player of all time, he did have weaknesses. Not many of them, but there were a few. He had great balance, which gave him exceptional lateral movement and the ability to change direction, but he didn’t have the speed or the acceleration of a Messier or a Kurri. His greatest strength was probably his ability to read the play and anticipate where it was going. However, he was never particularly successful on breakaways, frequently because he was thinking too much about his options rather than reacting instinctively (Okay, his puck handling skills weren’t too shabby either.) The point is that, even the best of the best have measurable differences in their strengths and weaknesses, and we can help them to improve and play at their peak performance levels more often, especially late in the game when stress and fatigue become major factors.
If Sports Vision training works, why isn’t everyone using it already?
Believe it or not, the concept has been around since the mid 70’s! An Optometrist from New Jersey by the name of Revien was working with minor league athletes and then with the New York Islanders in ’81. Their goalie, Billy Smith, made the comment that ‘Dr Revien’s name should have been engraved on the Stanley Cup right along with the other team coaches and trainers’. That’s a pretty strong endorsement!
But the fact of the matter is that until very recently the concept revolved around the use of balls, beads, and strings. The training had an almost ‘playground’ feel and it’s hard to instill confidence with such a low tech approach, no matter how much it may actually have helped the athletes. If you can’t get them to take the training seriously enough, to do the exercises often enough, it’s not going to work. The other draw back has been that there was a tendency to associate it with ‘therapy’ as opposed to ‘training’. Training is used to improve and advance a player’s game and his or her worth, while therapy had a negative connotation.
Why isn’t practicing and playing the game enough to exercise my eyes?
Why do you work out in the gym right after you get off the ice? Playing and practicing your game are great for developing your sport specific skills, but you also need to lift weights and run to develop endurance, so that you can play at your peak levels.
Exercising your eye muscles and developing your dynamic visual skills is just as important. Just as you do in weight training, you need to overload your eye muscles in order to develop them, so that you will experience less strain and fatigue when it counts. With training, your thought processes will be faster and more organized, even when you are multi-tasking. At your peak levels of performance, it will actually seem as if things are moving in slow motion, because you are functioning faster and more effectively; anticipating better, not committing yourself too soon, just anticipating and reacting instinctively to a stimulus.
The coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames from 1982 to 1987, Bob (Badger) Johnson, had a poster in the locker room that identified the ‘4 Stages of Performance’. They were listed as:
Not Aware - Not Performing
Aware - Not performing
Aware - Performing
Aware - Performing Instinctively
That should be your goal. To be aware and performing instinctively, and 360Athlete Sports Vision Training can help you get there.
What is the earliest age an athlete should start to use the program?
10 and older.
Are there significant long-term benefits/dangers to starting at a younger age?
As long as the child has fun, it is an enriching experience that increases their awareness. There is no risk to their eyes or development from participating on these drills.
What is the recommended length of time to train?
We recommend 20 minutes per day for the first twenty days, and then two or three 20-minutes sessions per week after that.
Do you recommend using the 360vision training program before a game?
Yes, it is a great way to develop a heightened visual awareness and increase brain processing speed.
How long will it take before I begin to see results?
Many have said immediately.
How does 360vision training impact learning in sports as well as in the classroom?
The two basic building blocks of learning is the ability to retain a visual picture of what is seen or heard and the ability to sustain attention on a challenging task at hand. Theses blocks are essential to performing athletically, listening, learning, reading and communication. Essentially, every mental process we perform is dependent on these visual processing abilities. And our capacity to process, learn new information and form memories is realized through the visual centers in our brain and it's "structural plasticity". The process of learning can be compared to the wiring of an office. When new information enters in visually or aurally, the brain strings a temporary wire between connection points in the mind (a reversible physiological change in synaptic transmission). These temporary, reversible changes are referred to as short-term memory. I f information is repeated, accepted or absorbed, the "wire" is made permanent, creating long-term memory. Long-term memories then become the basis for higher executive order thinking, affecting how information is analyzed, decisions are made, and actions are taken.