Important Vision Skills for Sports

Dynamic Visual Acuity

If you are playing a sport like racquetball, tennis, soccer or hockey, you need to be able to clearly see objects while you and/or the objects are moving fast. Without good dynamic visual acuity, you will have a difficult time in sports like these.

Visual Concentration

When you commit an error on an easy ground ball or miss a short putt, you might be distracted by things that are happening around you. Our eyes normally react to anything that happens in our field of vision-spectators, other participants or even rustling leaves on an overhanging branch. Visual concentration is the ability to screen out these distractions and stay focused on the object or the target.

Eye Tracking

When you are playing any sport with a ball or a fast-moving opponent, you need to be able to follow objects without much head motion. Eye tracking helps you maintain better balance and quickly react to the situation.

Eye-Hand-Body Coordination

Eye-hand-body coordination is how your hands, feet and body and other muscles respond to the information gathered through your eyes. It is an important part of most sports because it affects both timing and body control.

Visual Memory

When you are pushing a fast break up the basketball court, leading a rush up the ice in hockey or catching the big wave amid a crowd of surfers, you need to process and remember a fast-moving, complex picture of people and things. This is called visual memory. The athlete with good visual memory always seems to be in the right place at the right time.


Picture yourself hitting a perfect drive ... long and right down the middle of the fairway. Believe it or not, picturing yourself doing it can actually help you do it. Through visualization, you see yourself performing well in your "mind's eye" while your eyes are concentrating on something else, usually the ball. Using scanning techniques, researchers have found that the same areas of the brain that light up during performance also are at work when you visualize the performance.

Peripheral Vision

When a soccer player sees her teammate out of the corner of her eye, she is using her peripheral vision. Much of what happens in sports does not happen directly in front of you. Therefore, increasing your ability to see action to the side without having to turn your head is important.

Visual Reaction Time

The pitcher releases the ball and you swing ... a little late and you hit a weak foul down the line, or worse, you miss the ball completely. Or maybe you can't quite return that tennis serve. You need to improve your visual reaction time, or the speed with which your brain interprets and reacts to your opponent's action.

Depth Perception

In racket sports, depth perception enables you to quickly and accurately judge the distance between yourself, the ball, your opponents, teammates, boundary lines and other objects. If you consistently over- or underestimate the distance to your target, poor depth perception may be the reason.