You saw the ball… but did you really see it? Today we’re covering a DIY Eye Training system that you can do on your own or with a friend (or two!). Before we begin with the drill and some variations, let’s go over what exactly we’re working on. In sport, especially as lacrosse players, our eyes must shift and focus on different things rapidly. This could be a goalie tracking the ball as it moves between passes, a defender trying to read her attacker’s positioning relative to the ball carrier or an attacker computing the goalie movements to determine the best shot to take. How does our body do it? With Saccadic Eye Movement. Saccadic eye movement is described as, “… a rapid eye movement (a jump) which is usually conjugate (i.e. both eyes move together in the same direction) and under voluntary control. Broadly speaking the purpose of these movements is to bring images of particular areas of the visual world to fall onto the fovea. Saccades are therefore a major instrument of selective visual attention.” Or in other words, it’s your ability to scan from one object to the next and have it in focus… so, pretty darn important.
Just how do you improve your sacccades? One way is to use something called a Hart Chart, a simple diagram that has columns and rows full of letters and numbers. The object is to shift your focus from one letter or number to the next, fully concentrating on bringing one into full focus following another. We’ve created our own Hart Chart, and below is how to use it!
Materials: DYI Hart Chart, Tape
Key Points: This can be performed at home, alone or with a partner. It works best when you take it a step further and compete with another person (requiring two Hart Charts).
Goals: Quickly and accurately touch the number/object/color specified.
Procedure: For each specified object, stay in your ready stance (or dominant hand up by your eye if you are a field player), and locate the object into your focus. DO NOT touch the chart until you have successfully located the specific object. Moving before is similar to biting a fake or making an action (dodge) on the field without fully understanding what’s in front of us. To train your eyes, only make the physical movement AFTER your eyes have done the work (this will be hard!).
With A Partner:
Competing Against Another Person: