The Importance of Eye-Hand-Body Coordination in Basketball
If you watched the NBA’s recently concluded playoffs, you saw Miami’s Bam Adebayo win a game by shifting laterally under the basket, leaping, and blocking a would-be dunk by Boston’s Jayson Tatum.
Now consider the skills that went into this brilliant play. First, Adebayo visually tracked his teammates’ and opponents’ whereabouts; then he considered multiple options, figured out Tatum’s strategy, devised a defensive strategy, and executed it – all within a few seconds.
How’s that for eye-hand-body coordination?
That coordination — which is actually a form of communication between the eyes, brain and body — relies on the signals your eyes send to your brain.
Even athletes with 20/20 vision can benefit from perfecting their visual skills to boost their performance. To succeed at basketball, players require the following visual skills:
· Tracking and focusing: closely following the basketball’s movement so that if a ball comes loose after a rebound, you can track its direction and the pace and height of its bounces.
· Depth perception: being able to calculate the basketball’s distance from you or the basket. This requires your eyes and brain to determine how far you are from the ball, how many strides you’ll need to reach it, and how many more strides it will take to reach the basket and go on to score.
· Peripheral vision: seeing what’s around you while looking straight ahead allows you to see opponents racing toward the basket even when they’re at the edge of your visual field.
· Focus flexibility: shifting focus between near and far objects enables you to look directly at the ball, then rapidly redirect attention to your opponent, and then rapidly back at the ball.
· Dynamic visual acuity: accounting for key details of fast-moving objects, like the color of the jersey of the player rushing toward you. Each option –opponent or teammate – calls for a vastly different response.
What Happens in the Exam Room Translates to the Court
In sports vision training, Dr. Scott Lewis will devise a customized regimen of exercises relating directly to the visual skills mentioned above. At home, you’ll practice these skills.
How long will your sports vision training last? From several weeks to several months. The techniques will accustom your brain to quickly respond to sports situations. Through repeated practice, you’ll develop visual memory for better eye-hand-body coordination during your team’s games and scrimmages.