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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).
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