A high visual demand is required in Sports. To perform best in any sports it requires clarity of vision, focusing skills, efficient eye teaming and superior visual processing abilities. Clear vision is must in all sports but the specific visual demands a sports person require in that particular sports varies. Football is the game of science and art. Techniques like heading, juggling and dribbling running, passing, kicking, tackling, blocking are involved. These activities are supposed to be performed at great speed. Football is a team game so players have to play in unison for offence and defense with great individual skills. This is why it is essential to develop skills and understanding based on his contribution in the demand of the game.
Even if the two players are considerably equal in their skills, based on the different physical and mental response they give there can be much difference in their performance. A player must assess a situation quickly. A forward, defender and a goal keeper all has their designated role.
Forward should quickly decide between pass and shot, defender should be quick in deciding between marking and covering and a goalkeeper whether to defend or keep standing at the goal or to run forward or sideways. A player can train himself for all the positions. All players should be aware of both the defensive and attacking principles of game and should learn from his own observations and mistakes. Since it is a team game each player can show off their brilliance in the respective positions.
Visual Screening for the Players in Football: S.N Entities To Be Screened Importance Procedures
Case History: This gives an idea to the examiner to carry out the assessment based on the needs of the sports and to address the problem of the sports person accordingly. Verbal and old consultation reports.
Static and Dynamic Visual acuity: Static Visual acuity is required to make sure that whatever he sees is clear while dynamic visual acuity is critical because of dynamic nature of the ball as well as the player.
Contrast Sensitivity: Football is played in natural lighted or artificial lighted condition causing glare and thus reducing the contrast of the ball. Higher order aberrations are also responsible for causing reduced contrast.
Refractive Status and compensation: Correcting any refractive anomaly makes the target clear hence enhancing performance. The compensation is must. Standardized examination procedures using retinoscope and autorefractometer.
Peripheral vision: Necessary for recognition of fellow teammates from opponents. Vital to all positions and aspects in the game. Goalkeeper from good peripheral vision while defending the ball from multiple opponents and keepers to hit the goal.
Ocular motility: Full range of motility is necessary to track the football. Receiving a pass or defending the goal requires quick fixating and tracking motilities. Fixation, Saccades, Pursuits should be good in players for best performance.
Accommodative and vergence flexibility: Required for the dynamic change of focusing abilities.
Color vision: Useful in recognizing fellow players without raising your head to look at their jerseys. Ishihara color plates
Depth perception: Essential for all players who constantly need to monitor their reaction times and speed of passes to fellow players. When the football is in the air, it is more difficult to judge its distance making this skill even more important for play.
Ocular Posture: Proper ocular alignment is essential for fixation. If the eyes aren’t aligned all the binocular functions are impacted thus impacting the performance.
Eye-Hand/Body/Foot Coordination: Eye hand coordination essential for goal keepers and eye foot coordination for other players in defending the ball.
Speed of Focusing: Tracking the football requires a rapid change in focus for all players. Due to the dynamic nature of the game the players must be able to discriminate fine details to prevent penalties or other line calls from being made. Tachistoscopic procedures to evaluate speed and span of recognition have been used in research for many years for success in fast-action sports like football.
Night Vision /Glare recovery assessment: Proper night vision and quick glare recovery can improve an athlete’s performance, especially for night games played under artificial lights. The American Automobile Association’s Night Sight Meter.
Eye /hand /foot Dominance helps in determining which side is the player best suited to. Studies shows Right eye dominant players may perform better on the left side. Wisconsin sports vision project (WSVP) dominance wand Recorded as crossed/uncrossed/Undetermined dominance.
Visual Memory is helpful to goalkeepers and defensemen in remembering where a particular opponent frequently approaches the goal. May also be of importance to an offensive player in remembering the defense’s weak side.
Timing/Anticipation Skills are essential to predict the arrival of football at a designated place followed by a motor response for the given stimulus
Visual localization is important in finding out the exact location of football in air or in ground. Brock string &Yoked Prism
Motor and Visuo-motor response. Quick motor responses and visual motor responses are required for the initiation of a visual stimulus and the completion of a motor response to the stimulus thus increasing the efficiency.
The Multi-Operational Apparatus for Reaction Time (MOART) system
Training techniques to enhance the visual performance in football: A visual performance enhancement training program provides the athlete with the conditions and opportunity for improvement of critical visual skills.
The visual performances in football players can be potentially improved by following techniques.
- Peripheral Vision
- Visual Sensitivity: Acuity and Contrast Sensitivity
- Dynamic visual acuity
- Accomodative and vergence fertility: It helps in improving the ability to rapidly adjust eye alignment and focus for the variable of fixation distances encountered in football.
- Depth Perception
The visual task analysis should be performed by the sports vision practitioner for each sports team or athlete for whom these services are designed. He should initially isolate the relevant and critical visual skills for performance enhancement. He then can gradually introduce Visual skill integration and sensory integration demands to increase the difficulty for the athlete and build automaticity of performance. At the conclusion of visual performance enhancement therapy. A home- based program of visual skill procedures should be prescribed. This allows maintaining skill development and for continuing performance improvements in the athlete.