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Sports Vision Training should not be overlooked! Differentiate Yourself!

Sports vision training is a very often overlooked aspect of any training regimen. Perhaps it's because if you aren't athletic enough to show off your vision, then it doesn?t matter, but coupled with athleticism, sports vision will help anyone differentiate themselves in most aspects of their game.

This is one of those "regrets" that I spoke about on the home page. I would?ve been a much better basketball player when I was younger if I had known how to improve my basketball vision. Parents, coaches, and younger players should pay attention to this attribute, as you're never too young to start sports vision training and it will improve all aspects of your overall sports performance.

The Finish Line
A note to parents:
Please, please! If your kid is involved in sports and wants to get contacts (with optometrist approval), let them get contacts. Even with a strap, glasses are very inconvenient for basketball. They fall off constantly, they slide and distract you, hurt when they get jammed into your face, and break often. That being said, let's continue...

Why Sports Vision Training to Improve Your Basketball Skills?

In basketball, sports vision training will especially improve your passing ability and your team defense. In particular, basketball players (as well as all other athletes), will want to improve their peripheral AWARENESS. I say this because peripheral "vision" is more of a genetic trait, whereas awareness can be improved. Because it's a common term used in sports, though, I'll continue to use sports vision and awareness interchangeably since the terminology isn't as important as the concept.

Offensive Improvement
On the offensive end, peripheral vision will help you to see your teammates get open so you can pick up an assist. It can also help you to see defensive players sneaking up on you when you?re handling the ball or "think" you have an open shot.

Defensive and Rebounding Improvement
Sports vision is also very important on the defensive end. I'm sure every player has heard that you should be able to see the ball and your man at all times, and sports vision training can help you improve how much of the court you are aware of and can "see."

Having great peripheral awareness will help you to be ready for a coming screen as it helps you see it coming. Perhaps more importantly, having better basketball vision will greatly improve your help defense and zone defense. You will be much more effective if you can see your teammate get beat out of the corner of your eye or a player cutting to the area of the floor you?re responsible for in your zone so that you can cut them off.

Not to mention, it will help you to seek out someone to block out (often an issue in zone defenses) and be aware of other players flying in for an offensive rebound.

Sports Vision Training Suggestions

Here's a couple of suggestions for your sports vision training. There's only a few, but I'll be adding more in time.
  • Pass and catch the ball while not looking at your target.
  • Learn how to juggle. (Yes! You heard me right!)
  • Sports Vision Books (activity books)
  • Check back as I will be researching more sports vision training methods.

No-Look Pass/Catch
Have your target to the right or left of you. Ideally, this will be your training partner so that the "return" is to you and not just a rebound from a wall. If necessary, though, you can use a wall or even a tossback.

Looking straight ahead, and with your target on the right or left side of you, pass the ball to your target. Now, while still looking ahead, try to catch the ball when your partner passes it back to you or it returns from the wall or tossback.

Remember to work on both the right and left side. This will not only increase your peripheral awareness, but your passing skills and reaction time as well.

You may be surprised to hear juggling should be a part of your sports vision training, but juggling can help improve your hand-eye coordination and your peripheral awareness if done properly. It can also help to increase your hand speed to have better reaction time on the defensive end. It may take some time, but just remember to be patient and stick with it.

You're going to want to use like-sized, like-weighted objects, like tennis balls or actual juggling balls if you can get them. The best advice is to start your juggling sports vision training with only two balls, then work up to three when you are comfortable with two-ball juggling.

  • 2 Ball Juggling
    Start with just two juggling balls, holding one in each hand, palm up. For ease of description, I'm going to start the juggling instructions with the right hand, but it doesn't matter which hand you start with.

    1. Starting with your right hand, throw the juggling ball into the air and toward your left hand.
    2. While the ball is at its apex (the highest point before it begins to drop), throw the other ball from your left hand up in the air and toward the right hand.
    3. Catch the first ball, then the second, and repeat, this time starting with the left hand.

    Try to avoid moving forward while doing this: If you notice this being a problem, then lean your back against a wall to get used to throwing the ball up instead of out.

  • 3 Ball Juggling
    3 ball juggling is just like 2 ball juggling, but a little more difficult since you're adding a ball. The key is to always have one ball up in the air.

    1. Start with two balls in your right hand, and the third ball in your left. Throw one of the balls up in the air from your right hand.
    2. While the ball is at its apex, throw the ball from your left hand up into the air.
    3. Here's where it differs: now you're going to want to catch the first ball with your left hand and, almost simultaneously, you'll be throwing the third ball in the air from your right hand so that you can catch the other ball. The same goes for your left hand now and so on?

    Just remember, throw the ball up in the air from each hand as an incoming ball is at its apex so that your hand is free to catch that ball. Look straight ahead and not at the balls to improve your sports vision.

    Also note that the lower you throw the juggling balls in the air, the faster your hands will have to be and better practice it is for hand speed. It may take a while, but be patient. You'll get it if you practice!

Sports Vision Books

There are a few decent sports vision books out there that can help give you a much more in-depth look into sports vision training. I think the best ones are the ones that include activities and items you can use for your training (like eye charts, graphs, diagrams to line up, etc.). Check out Sports Vision Books to the right. I like the one simply called "SportsVision: Training for Better Performance," as it is relatively inexpensive and does contain a ton of useful information and pull-out charts and diagrams used for vision training.

Check back with this site.

These couple of drills should get you started, but I should have some more information for you in the near future. Until then, click away on some other links!

Basketball Passing Tips
Complement your Sports Vision Training

Basketball Defense Tips
Use your Improved Sports Vision for Better Defense

Basketball Training
All Other Basketball/Athletic Training to Improve Your Game

GNC Live Well

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