As soccer is a sport of almost constant motion, for the players and the ball, well developed dynamic acuity is just as significant as good static acuity.
The following is a comprehensive outline of the most important dynamic visual skills for soccer.
Eye tracking ability is important as quick, accurate saccades (or eye movements) are needed to rapidly survey the changing locations and movements of the other 21 players and the ball on the pitch. The player must also use saccades to monitor the location of the various boundary lines and the goals. Focusing flexibility is also important because the ball and other players move so quickly. The player has to be able to shift focus from near to far, or to intermediate targets rapidly throughout the game, while fatigue is increasing due to heavy exertion.
Playing one and a half hours of soccer can be very fatiguing, so maintaining a high level of focus throughout the game is close to impossible. However, if all players can develop the skill to keep concentration throughout the game and still be able to exploit an opponent's errors on the field, they might find that this is the skill that determines the winning or losing of a championship.
Timing for receiving passes and jumping up to head the ball at just the right moment, are skills related to good depth perception. The player must be able to judge the speed and spin on the ball, as well as how quickly other players are moving toward or away from him. Also, knowing where you are, relative to other objects, is very important in soccer because traffic patterns on the field can become very congested. No one stays in the same place very long. The ball and the players are all in constant, relative motion. The goals are stationary, but most shots are taken at the goal as the player is moving.
Most soccer players depend more on eye-foot and eye-body coordination, than on eye-hand; except the goaltenders, who are permitted to use their hands to catch, throw and block shots taken on their goal. The eyes lead the body, so the visual system guides the motor system. For the players, exact eye-foot coordination is essential to hit a solid volley or half volley and to ensure that the ball goes in the right direction and is perfectly on target.
When dribbling the ball, the player must be aware of
where he's going; where the defensive tacklers are coming
from; and also be peripherally aware of the soccer ball
his foot is controlling. Defensively, he/she must stay
between the opponent and the goal. Therefore, he must
be centrally aware of the offensive player with the ball,
if it's his responsibility to
mark (guard) him. Peripherally, he must be aware of the goal and potential passing lanes the offense might use. Also, if he is marking a player away from the ball, he must be peripherally aware of the ball and the goal.
This is not only a very essential skill for superior performance in a game like soccer, but it also helps to avoid collision and injury. Each player must be aware of the location of the ball; where he should be in relation to the action going on at any given time; where his opponents and his teammates are if he is in control of the ball; and where he is on the pitch in relationship to the numerous boundaries.
Opportunities to make a proper pass, nutmeg a player
(kick the ball between his legs), or tackle an opponent
and steal the ball without fouling, only present themselves
for fractions of seconds. Also, the soccer ball itself
can move at high rates of speed. Once the ball starts
ricocheting off players who are fighting for its' control,
reaction speed can be the difference between a winner
and a loser. The player must be able to absorb a great
deal of information, with just a quick scan of the field
in order to make his decision for play development – i.e.
whether or not to pass the ball, and where and how to
make his next move.