SI Vault
Arnold Schechter
February 09, 1987
In most sports nothing affects performance more than the ability to see clearly and correctly. Whether an athlete is tracking a fly ball, returning a serve or throwing a pass, it is his eyes that lead his body.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
February 09, 1987

Eyeing Ways To Improve Performance

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4

?"CART driver Roberto Guerrero was referred to me after a visual screening at the 1984 Indy 500. Roberto had miserable depth perception because his right eye was much weaker than his left, and he wasn't using it.

"I trained him on an Accommotrac, a biofeedback machine that teaches people how to control the ciliary muscles attached to the lenses of their eyes. Vision in Roberto's right eye improved from 20/30 to 20/15, and in his left from 20/15 to 20/10. After this reduction in the difference between his eyes a test placed his depth perception in the top 1% of the population.

?" Jim Simons, the PGA golfer, came to me in 1977 with a concentration problem. His vision was fine when he was sitting in an exam chair, but it was disturbed when he was slightly off-balance—stand�ng on a sidehill lie or even putting in a strong wind.

"My drills taught his visual system to function while he was off-balance. He read an eye chart while bouncing on a trampoline. He shifted focus among different targets while balancing side-to-side on a beam. He used the Vectogram while walking on a rail.

"Jim has needed follow-up work more than most athletes, but now he feels more stable over his shots."

For his part, Simons has become a believer in Harrison's methods. "I still do visual exercises using portable equipment like a mini-trampoline or a balance board," says Simons. "When I train regularly there is a real improvement in my golf game, especially in my concentration."

Dr. Harrison's examples may seem out of the ordinary to a layman, but other optometrists, who are reluctant to divulge patients' names, offer similar cases of athletes hampered by correctable vision problems. Some of the examples they give are:

? An NFL receiver who wasn't able to track balls coming over his right shoulder until a doctor worked out a special training program to teach his eyes to function together more accurately.

? An NBA player who missed two-thirds of his free throw attempts during his career because his eyes told his brain that the basket was a foot short and 10 inches to the left of its actual location.

?A volleyball player from the '84 Olympic team who mishit overhead shots under stress because he suppressed vision from one eye.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4
Related Topics
William Harrison 1 0 0
Jim Simons 14 0 0
Kiki Vandeweghe 25 0 0
Alan Reichow 1 0 0
Donald Teig 1 0 0