An introduction to vision & sports
performance
Pierre Elmurr BAppSc (Orthoptics) DOBA MAppSc (ExerSportsSc)
Sports Vision Scientist
NSW Institute of Sport, Australia
VISION TRAINING
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"Vision training for sport is the application of
specific exercises conducted over a period
of time that leads to neural restructuring of
cortex and brainstem pathways allowing a
person to maximise efficiency while
performing visual perceptual tasks leading to
enhanced visual motor performance”
Elmurr 2010 Boston sports vision meeting
Relationship of vision & skilled movement
(Welford 1960 model)
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Perceptual mechanism divided into
the “HARDWARE” & “SOFTWARE”
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Decision mechanism
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Effector mechanism
Perceptual Mechanism
(Starkes & Deakin 1984)
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“HARDWARE” - the reception of visual
information; affected by the ocular
characteristics of the athletes visual system
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“SOFTWARE” - Perception of visual
information; influenced by strategies an
athlete develops & includes information
processing, use of advanced cues, ball
flight cues, gaze behavior and the use of
anticipatory skills
“Hardware examination”
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Identifies uncorrected refractive errors,
contrast sensitivity and Binocular anomalies
that could influence “software” decision
making
? Hardware has limiting factors
Ciuffreda model – vision & sport
5 major categories:
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Resolving detail
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Estimating depth
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Tracking moving objects
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Visual motor integration
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Visual information processing
Vision & sport classification
4 major categories:
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Visual skills
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Brain skills
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Sports IQ skills
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Sports psychology skills
VISUAL SKILLS
EYE SIGHT
Visual acuity
Eye dominance
Contrast
Sensitivity
Depth
Perception
OCULAR
MOTOR
SKILLS
Accommodation
Binocular vision
Dynamic
VA
Pursuits
stereopsis
Vergence
VISUAL
PERCEPTUAL MOTOR SKILLS
Eye hand
coordination
Eye foot
coordination
Peripheral
vision
Visual memory
Visual perception
Visual
processing
Saccades
Visualisation
BRAIN SKILLS
Anticipation Attention
Pattern
recognition
Decision
making
Peripheral proprioception
awareness
Neuroplasticity
SPORT IQ SKILL
Decision
training
Gaze control
Visual search The zone
Skill
acquisition
Talent
identification
Visual cues
SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY SKILLS
ULTIMATE
MENTAL
ATHLETE
Consistency
Flow
Killer instinct
zone
Emotional Mind strength
toughness
PSYCHOLOGICAL
STRATEGIES
Arousal
Breathing
concentration
Motivation
confidence
Humor
Goal setting
Meditation
Visualization
relaxation
Positive thinking
Rituals
Perseverance
Faith
Self talk
Mental
toughness
SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY SKILLS
PSYCHOLOGICAL
OBSTACLES
Adversity
Burn-out
Choking
Fatigue
Aggression
Pressure
Fear
Anxiety
Intimidation
Anger
Pain
Self Doubt
Slumps
Addication
Stress
Generalised vs Specific vision training
programs
•
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Do generalised visual training programs for sport
really work? An experimental investigation
Abernethy & Woods Journal of Sports Science
2000
Results found no evidence that visual training
programs led to improvements in either vision or
motor performance above & beyond simple test
familiarity
Specific sports vision training research
•
The effects of a visual skills training program
on female volleyball athletes, Kluka et al 1996
•
“Hardware” component, statistically
significant improvement in Contrast
Sensitivity Function
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“Software”, statistically significant
improvement in speed of recognition
•
Advantageous to create visual skills training
programs which closely resemble the
volleyball specific environment
VISION TRAINING MODALITIES
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Classical vision training
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“Software” training
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Visual awareness training
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Visual-motor training
CLASSICAL VISION TRAINING
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Based on deficiencies detected during the
“hardware” testing of the visual system
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Orthoptic therapies are proven methods based
on scientific principles. Success rates vary
from 61.9% (Birnbaum et al 1999), to 91%
(Grisham 1988) to 100%(Wicks 1994)
CLASSICAL VISION TRAINING
•
A critical evaluation of the evidence
supporting the practice of behavioural vision
therapy. Barrett, Ophthal. Physiol. Opt. 2009
•
“A large majority of behavioural management
approaches are not evidence based and thus
cannot be advocated”
Software
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Perceptual factors including visual search/gaze
behavior, decision making, anticipation, pattern
recognition and attention has been shown to
discriminate between experts & novices
(Abernethy, 1988, Abernethy et al., 1994; Helsen &
Starkes, 1999, McPherson & French, 1999; Starkes,
1987; Williams, 2000; Williams et al., 1999)
“software” eye movements
•
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Gaze control is defined as the process of
directing gaze to objects within a scene in real
time.
A fixation occurs when the gaze is held on an
object or location within 3 degrees of the visual
angle for 100 milliseconds or longer
What do athletes see?
•
How gaze is controlled in sport falls into 2
methods of research:
•
Visual search: the eye movements of
athletes are recorded as they view
videotapes, photographs, computer
simulations, or other simulated content from
their sport
•
Vision-in-action: Uses the gaze of the
participant recorded while they perform in
real world sport settings
Gaze Control
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In gaze studies in sport, all gaze (fixations, pursuit
tracking, saccades, blinks) found in a task to a
location, one gaze has emerged called the “quiet
eye” as a significant contributing factor to higher
levels of sports performance (Vickers, 1996a).
•
The Quiet eye is defined as a period of time when
the fixation is stable on spatial information critical
to effective and consistent motor performance.
Focal vision & Quiet eye
4 characteristics of quiet eye
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•
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A directing of attention to a critical location in the
performance environment
An onset that occurs prior to the intended movement
A duration that is longer for elite performers than for
lesser skill level
A high level of stability
Visual awareness training
29 elite female hockey players were divided into 3 groups
Group 1 training normally for 4 weeks
Group 2 did visual skills training
Group 3 received visual awareness coaching on top of visual
skills and normal training
•
22 specific field hockey skills were tested before and after the
4 weeks of training
Group 1, the control group improved in only 3 of the 22 tests
•
Group 2 improved on 9 of the tests
Group 3 improved on 16 of the 22 skills tested. Visual awareness
program included on field sports specific activities such as
altering the position of the head in relation to the dominant eye
and the ball
Visual-motor training
•
Combining hardware & software
processing produces a motor response
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Eye-hand coordination
Eye-foot coordination
Coincidence anticipation
Peripheral awareness reaction time
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Motor skill
•
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•
•
•
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Defined as skills in which physical movement is
required to accomplish a goal of a task.
Classified into 3 groups
1. Precision of the movement:
Gross (walking, jumping) vs fine motor skill (writing,
drawing)
2. Defining beginning & end point of a skill :
Discrete (hitting a button on a keyboard vs
continuous motor skill (swimming, running)
3. Stability of the environment :
Closed (bowling) vs open motor skill (tennis rally)
Motor performance measures
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Response output: Measures time, error and
magnitude of a response
•
Response production: Measures include EMG,
EEG measures describing limbs, joints, muscles &
brain activity during movement
•
The most common measure of initiation of
movement is reaction time
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Response Time is the total time interval involving
both Reaction time & movement time
Motor performance measures
•
•
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3 common types of RT:
Simple RT: Only one signal and one response
required (visual stimuli 180-200ms, auditory 140-160
ms)
Go/No- RT: Respond to one stimuli and not respond to
another stimuli
Choice RT: A distinct response for each possible
stimuli
Learning
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Perceptual learning – ability to improve on a
specific sensory/perceptual task with
practice
•
Motor learning – process that improves
motor performance through practice
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Other forms of learning – visualization,
anticipation, visual attention, range of
cognitive strategies
Motor learning
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Motor learning – the changes associated with
practice or experience leading to
improvements in motor performance
(observable production of a motor skill)
SVT is the motor learning tool and
improvements in motor performance is a
decrease in reaction time on the SVT board
and on field improvements in hand speed
Level of motor performance is susceptible to
fluctuations in temporary factors such as
motivation, arousal, fatigue
Motor learning
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Improved motor performance due to increasing
synaptic efficiency in the neural-network
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Motor learning involves 3 stages:
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Determining by trial & error processing the optimal
motor program to accomplish a particular task
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Repeated practicing of the optimal motor program
for rapid & precise execution
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Attaining a level of automaticity, the movement
becomes “pre programmed” allowing attention to be
allocated to other related tasks. “consistent stimulus
response mapping”
SVT TM independent research, 2001
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Statistical established internal validity and test-retest
reliability
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Training eye hand coordination 3 times a week (½ hr
sessions ) for 5 weeks on the SVT TM does improve eye
hand coordination as measured on the SVT TM
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The skills learnt from training on the SVT TM are
transferable to a control device
VISION TRAINING
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Higher the skill level of the athlete the more specific
the training
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Higher the skill level requires quantitative analysis
and latest technology to measure performance
changes
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Effective training minimum 2 or 3 times a week for 5
weeks (1/2 sessions). Skills maintained for up to 10
weeks after cessation of training
SUMMARY/TIPS
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Conduct “hardware” assessment and relate results to on
field performance
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Treat “hardware” deficiencies
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?? Warm up exercises/visual perceptual computer
generated vision training programs
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Design specific visual motor drills (on field vs off field)
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Work closely with sports scientist/coaches to assess/train
“software” parameters related to a specific sport
THANK YOU!
[email protected]