Eric Syverson M.S. is an Assistant Coach for the Indiana University Men’s Lacrosse team. He is also in the Indiana University School of Optometry, so he is the perfect person to receive vision training from. Read below as he discusses how he worked with the team this past Spring.
This past spring our Indiana University Men’s Lacrosse goalies underwent sports vision training, with the help of the Indiana University School of Optometry (IUSO). Sports vision training has been implemented for various professional sports teams, guided by an optometrist who has done a residency in binocular vision therapy. Currently, vision therapy is underutilized at the college and high school level. There are no specific programs that meet the visual demands for the sport of lacrosse. The visual requirements to be a top tier lacrosse goalie could be considered the most demanding in all of sports when you take into consideration shot speed, shot release points (overhand, ¾, sidearm, and low), and shot distance.
If interested in vision therapy it is first and foremost essential that you are seeing BETTER than 20/20. With correction (contact lens/glasses) the majority of people under the age of 30 should be able to see 20/15. Essentially that means you can read a letter at 20 feet, and a normal adult would read at 15 feet. It is possible for optometrists to even tweek your prescription to fit demands, such as a goalie, who have different distance visual demands past 20 feet.
Our entrance exam for our goalies included visual acuity (VA), depth perception, visual reaction time, eye-hand coordination and a vision fixation test.
We then started training with juggling for hand-eye coordination, Brock string training (exercising how your eyes work together when moving from a near target to a distance target), and strobe-light training (in a completely dark room, first goalies passing a tennis ball to one another on high speed strobe and then decreasing strobe light burst to increase difficulty).
During our third week of training we started to incorporate Nike Strobe Specs for our goalies in game situations.
I am really excited about the new Nike technology and how it can be applied to lacrosse. If interested in starting vision training look at the American Optometric Association website under sports vision to find an optometrist in your location to get you started.
Here is a video of freshman Ward Weber (Hillcrest, TX) trying to get dialed in not too long ago.
Watch more vision training videos for lacrosse.
We have been under the guidance of Dr. Hitzeman who was on the vision training team for the 1996 summer Olympics and was awarded the American Optometric Associations Sports Vision Section Sports Vision Optometrist of the Year at the 2005 AOA Congress.
If interested about incorporating vision therapy feel free to contact me via email, [email protected]. We are currently looking to expand our vision training for offensive players. Check out our website for more updates and videos to come soon.