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Sports Vision South
Applying the science of neuroplasticity to sports, Special Forces and police tactical training
The Sports Vision Premise
Sports Vision is based on the simple but powerful premise that vision is a learned skill, and like any other learned skill it can be improved with practice. Elite level performers in any endeavor require both finely honed visual and motor skills and an essential part of their competitive edge depends on how well they are able to integrate these skills in dynamic situations.
The average person utilizes only 30-40% of their visual potential and although elite athletes utilize much more, there is still room for improvement. Research has shown that up to 80% of common athletic mistakes can be accounted for by vision errors, but despite this, and the fact that visual skills are vital in almost every sport, very few coaches or athletes are aware of the benefits of the training techniques collectively known as Sports Vision.
Now, through a sophisticated program of electronic perception/reaction exercises, The Southern Focus Sports Vision program will be shown to produce dramatic results in: eye-hand coordination, peripheral awareness, concentration under stress conditions, speed and span of recognition, depth perception and anticipation timing. Professional athletes who have trained with our program report significant improvements in their ability to react, with greater speed and confidence, to events happening in their periphery, without having to move their eyes from a key central target. They read plays faster, concentrate better and longer, judge the speed and distance of moving objects with greater accuracy, and adjust their focus more quickly to objects moving toward or away from them.
DynaVision 2000/D2 History
The first DynaVision 2000 was produced in August of 1988 with the help of Phil Jones, (former pro football player and program user) and has been the primary evaluation and training tool for the Dynamic Edge program since then. It was manufactured by his company, Performance Enterprises until the spring of 2010 when he and his new partners designed and started to manufacture the new version, the D2.
The DynaVision 2000 (and now the D2) has been used extensively in a number of areas outside of sport, including:
§ School programs that help children with attention deficits to function better.
§ Hospitals and clinics dealing with autism, head injury and post-stroke recovery patients.
§ Universities doing research and development studies, including the Rehabilitation of Visual and Motor Deficits; the Rehabilitation of Visual Skills, the Rehabilitation of Visuomotor Skills in Post Stroke Patients, and Rehabilitation on Behind-the-Wheel Driving Ability and Selected Psychomotor Abilities of Persons Post-Stroke (Toronto and McGill). § Military Special Forces teams for selection of new recruits and training of unit members.
The D2 is approximately 4ft by 4ft in size and has 64 small target buttons, arranged in five concentric rings, around an LCD display which acts as a tachistoscope or rapid flash projector. It remains the single most effective tool available for use in the program because each exercise forces individuals to employ most, sometimes all, of the skills at once and therefore provides a good indication of their ability to simultaneously perform multiple sensory-motor tasks. Users must not only recognize the existence of a peripheral stimulus, but also judge the exact location of the stimulus and react physically to it without losing their concentration on a key target. The timed modes increase stress levels and help to fine-tune concentration while forcing the individual to react faster to what they see. The flash option further increases the level of stress and forces new levels of concentration. The bi-level processing (i.e. central focus and peripheral awareness) which occurs while using the flash simultaneously with a regular run, actually trains the processing system of the brain to become more organized and thus more efficient. A computer records the results for each run, including speed and accuracy scores, broken down into both ring and quadrant analyses. Evaluation scores are then transferred (either manually or electronically) to the Dynamic Edge database program, specifically designed to provide a measure of each specific skill level, as well as a detailed analysis of the effects of stress on performance in each skill. A written report will outline both strengths and weaknesses of the athlete and will describe how weaknesses may affect performance, especially under stress and fatigue.
Dynamic Visual Skills
Accommodation, Convergence And Divergence
Focusing flexibility and eye-tracking…two separate skills, but inseparable as they must work together to achieve good, clear vision. Accommodation is the ability to change focus instantaneously as objects move closer to, or farther away from you. Convergence/divergence is the ability to keep both eyes working in unison as they track rapidly moving objects.
The visual system provides an individual with the information needed in order to act, as well as the information needed to judge when to act. Timing is the key to effective performance. Most efforts fail not because the physical movements were wrong, but because they were made at the wrong time. The ability to anticipate is a major factor in high level competitive activities, and even superior speed, size and reflexes cannot compensate for the insufficient processing of the visual information regarding when to perform.
The ability to maintain a high level of focus on a specific task or key target, in spite of distractions, while also maintaining total awareness of what is happening peripherally.
This should not be confused with staring, which is just another form of distraction. Staring eyes are not focused on a target. They are actually disassociated from it, and as a result there is a total loss of concentration, with little or no awareness of what is actually going on. The noticeably higher levels of performance evident during playoff or title games can usually be attributed to that ‘will to win’ …or determination that boils down to an intense concentration of the game…unwavering focus on every bit of pertinent action, near and far, and finally…the discipline not to be distracted.
The epitome of fine vision. We are able to perceive depth in space because we are endowed with stereopsis or binocular vision, whereby each eye actually records a separate, two dimensional image on the retina. If both eyes are working in unison, the brain perceives the object as one, three dimensional entity. This allows us to judge the distance, the speed and the revolution of objects in space.
Dynamic Visual Acuity
“Vision in Motion”, or the ability to resolve the details of an object while there is relative motion between the target and the observer.
The eyes lead the body, not the other way around. Coaches and players who refer to hand-eye coordination have missed the significance of this relationship. The visual system leads the motor system. Our hands or feet or body respond to the information the eyes have sent to the brain. If this information is incorrect, even to the slightest degree, there is a good chance that we will err in our physical response. Almost every sport error, or poorly executed play, can be attributed to faulty visual judgment, and it is visual judgment alone that determines eye-hand coordination.
Initiation Speed/Visual Reaction Time
This is the amount of time it takes to process what you see, make a decision and just get started.
This must not be confused with peripheral vision, which cannot be changed. That field is strictly dictated by the skeletal structure and the shape of the retina. However, we can enhance peripheral awareness, or the ability of the athlete to maintain an awareness of what is happening around him while keeping his concentration on a key target directly in front of him. A well developed peripheral field helps the athlete to see everything at once, to maintain the whole pattern, to sense the flow of the play, even as they move within it.
Speed And Span Of Recognition
How much information an individual is able to take in at once; in other words, how much of the field/ice/play they see at a glance. An increase in an athlete’s speed in recognizing a visual stimulus has a very special effect in terms of overall performance. It drives the physical impulses to a better reflex level. The reflex action becomes more automatic and less thought out. As a result, the physical response or the performance is much quicker, more accurate and more efficient.
This is a measurement of how stress and fatigue affects our ability to perform. Individuals are affected in different ways and to varying degrees. It can cause us to miss the ‘big picture’ (forcing us to react to only pieces of the play/action); it can cause tunnel vision (making us less aware of both peripheral action and verbal cues); it can create mental tunneling (making it harder for us to think outside the box and see the more obscure links); it can slow down the thought process and therefore the initiation of our responses (making it harder to ‘think on the fly’ and be consistently effective); it can cause us to over-anticipate and react too soon (making ill-timed or simply inappropriate responses).
Most reaction mistakes, athletic or otherwise, can be attributed to poor dynamic skills, i.e. errors caused by:
A lack of information or improperly read visual cues: Increasing the amount of visual information that is absorbed and the speed of decision-making has a very positive effect in terms of overall performance. It drives the physical impulses to a better reflex level, so the reflex action becomes more automatic and less thought out. As a result, the physical response is much quicker and more efficient, and hence, the performance is more effective.
Poorly developed motor skills, especially eye-hand coordination: The eyes lead the body, not the other way around. Individuals who refer to hand-eye coordination have missed the significance of this relationship. The visual system leads the motor system. The body responds to the information the eyes have sent to the brain. If this information is incorrect, even to the slightest degree, there is a good chance that we will err in our physical response. Regardless of how fast the movement is, if you miss your target … you lose.
Poorly timed responses: Timing is the key to effective performance. Most efforts fail not because the physical movements were wrong, but because they were made at the wrong time. The ability to anticipate is a major factor in high level competitive activities, and even superior speed, size and reflexes cannot compensate for the insufficient processing of the visual information regarding when to perform.
Poor peripheral awareness: Peripheral vision cannot be changed. The skeletal structure and the shape of the retina strictly dictate that field. So generally, what you’re born with is what you’ve got. Mild to severe peripheral tunneling, on the other hand, is a very common stress effect. With training, the ability to maintain an awareness of what is happening around you, while keeping your focus on a key target directly in front of you, can be enhanced.
Poor concentration: This should not be confused with staring, which is just another form of distraction. Staring eyes are not focused on a target, but are actually disassociated from it, resulting in a total loss of concentration, with little or no awareness of what is actually happening. The noticeably higher levels of performance evident during playoff or title games can usually be attributed to that ‘will to win’, or determination that boils down to an intense concentration of the game, unwavering focus on every bit of pertinent action, near and far, and finally the discipline not to be distracted.
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