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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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:
That should be your goal. To be aware and performing instinctively, and Dynamic Edge Sports Vision Training can help you get there.