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Football is a game that requires intense concentration and awareness of what is happening around the player. A slight deficiency or lapse in either of these areas can mean a mental or physical error or much worse – injury!

The following is a comprehensive breakdown of the dynamic skills associated with each position.

Receivers

Focusing and Tracking

The ability of the eyes to track and constantly refocus on the ball as it approaches, so it doesn't become a blur.

Concentration

The ability to focus on the ball through a maze of outstretched arms.

Depth Perception

Receivers must calculate exactly how far and how fast the thrown ball is travelling so that they can adjust their own speed and location to be in the exact spot to catch the ball.

Peripheral Vision/Awareness

This is a key skill for a receiver. As he extends to make the catch, he must be sure of the location of nearby opponents. This will not only allow him to make the quick move to spring into the open after making the catch, but will also help to avoid injuries.

Defensive Backs

Focusing and Tracking

The ability of the eyes to track and constantly refocus on the ball as it approaches, so it doesn't become a blur.

Anticipation Timing

The skill of judging the cut-off point of the on-coming ball or ball carrier.

Concentration

The ability to concentrate on the ball when it is in the air and make the interception. As the ball is not meant to go to the defensive back, it usually requires a great athletic effort to arrive in position to make the 'pick' and it is often accomplished through the distraction of waving arms and moving bodies.

Eye-Hand Coordination

This skill applies to catching (intercepting) the football as with receivers.

Peripheral Vision/Awareness

The ability to focus on the central object (the ball when it is in the air, the man in man to man coverage, the quarterback in zone coverage) and still be confident of the action happening around that object.

Linebackers

Concentration

Lapses in this skill are extremely hazardous in this position as it is a high traffic area. It is also important to be able to concentrate on the 'keys' required to read each play with the many distractions associated with a high traffic area.

Peripheral Vision/Awareness

The player must be able to focus on his 'keys' while being aware of opponents in his area. One of the main concerns of the linebacker is the 'crack back' block. Early awareness and reaction to this potentially hazardous situation can greatly enhance his effectiveness and help avoid injury.

Speed and Span of Recognition

Linebacking is a fast action/reaction position. The ability to take in visual information and instantaneously translate it into a physical reaction is vital to superior play.

Other Skills

Linebacking is a unique position in that the player must combine the skills of both the line and the defensive play. Therefore he will employ the other skills not mentioned above but required specifically by the defensive backs and line.

Running Backs

As the back handles the ball quite often in the game and can also be a pass receiver, he must possess those visual skills which are required by the receivers such as focusing and tracking, concentration and eye-hand coordination.

Peripheral Vision/Awareness

This is also an important skill for the back as he must often be able to pick up blitzing linemen who have beaten their block. This skill is also required by the back while running the ball as he must be able to focus on where he is going and be able to see and recognize the action in his periphery.

Speed and Span of Recognition

This is critically important to the ball carrier, as the more visual information he can take in, and the faster he can turn this into a physical reaction, the more effective his running will be.

Quarterbacks

Anticipation Timing

Exact anticipation timing can help a quarterback move out of the pocket just at the right time to avoid being sacked. It is also vital for releasing the ball on time to receivers and for completing a perfect hand-off to a running back.

Concentration

The quarterback has the most extensive and difficult reads to make as the success of each play depends on his accurate read of the defensive scheme. Any lapse in concentration will result in a botched play, or worse, a fumble or interception. He must also be able to concentrate downfield on his receivers through the stress and distraction of the on-coming rush.

Depth Perception

A critical skill in that he must be able to accurately judge the distance and speed of the receiver and throw the ball to the correct point. Any short coming in this area will result in incomplete passes or interceptions.

Focusing and Tracking

One of the most difficult dynamic skills is tracking an object that is moving away from the athlete. This is illustrated by the ability to accurately judge and complete the long pass. Quarterbacks that continuously struggle with this pass could have a deficiency in this skill.

Eye-Hand Coordination

The ability to throw the football where it should go, particularly while the quarterback is scrambling or off balance.

Peripheral Vision/Awareness

Also very important for the quarterback as he must be able to be aware of the rush surrounding him while concentrating on his downfield receivers. He needs to be able to step up in the pocket at the last instant to avoid a charging rusher.

Speed and Span of Recognition

The more instantaneously he is able to process the visual information which surrounds him, the more time he will have to choose the correct reaction and complete the play.

Typical Symptoms That May Be Related to Poor Dynamic Visual Skills:

  • Difficulty reading the defense/offense quickly.
  • Poor passing/catching consistency and accuracy.
  • Trouble scanning the field.
  • Poor eye-hand coordination or balance.
  • Slow to react to the play as it develops.
  • Distracted and inconsistent from game to game.
  • Trouble maintaining awareness of position in relation to other players and field markers.
  • Slow to react to the snap.
  • Trouble reading the play after the snap.
  • Trouble judging distances and angles with consistency.
  • Difficulty judging the long pass accurately.

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