My brother played baseball all the way up to the division 1 college ranks. Somewhere in there, he noticed his eye sight was getting bad. He was starting to have to sit at the front of the class just to see the chalk board.

He decided to get his eyes looked at. Now, if you are like me, I naturally assumed that the doctor would say, “yeah your eyes are getting bad, so let’s get some glasses.”

What the doc said (or whoever he went to) was because he was an athlete they treated his eyes like any muscle. Meaning, if we can strengthen them, then they can get stronger. Or in this case, get better vision.

And you know what, IT WORKED!

Doing certain exercises his sight got much better and he was able to do things all baseball players need to do a heck of a lot easier now that he could track the ball better.

I started looking into this theory a few years back when I got into my 40’s. I wanted to see if there was something out there to help with my vision so I could hopefully stave off wearing glasses.

In the digital age, one of the things I looked at was apps. An app called ULTIMEYES was at the top of the list. I’ve used it and I think it works very well.

Basically, you set up a baseline, then do different eye exercises for about 20-25 minutes each session. You accumulate points like you would a game and each time you do it, you try to improve on your score.

The theory is that these exercises will help strengthen your eyes like any exercise and get your eyes stronger like any muscle.

But, it is something you have to be consistent with. They’d like you to do it daily. I’ll be honest, I’ve gotten a little sidetracked with it and haven’t done it in 6 months, but my eyes are still going good.

As an athlete though, there are drills that you can do that not only help vision, but help your vision in an environment that relates to athletes. Like read and react, quick reactions and processing, etc.

Air Force did these three drills with their athletes and supposedly they improved their vision 200 to 300 percent. These drills you could do with your athletes right now:

  • Saccadic Drill – Standing 10 feet from a wall, place two eye charts ten feet apart from each other on the wall. Standing in an athletic position read the first letter from one chart and then quickly call out the first letter on the next chart. Progress down both charts going as quick as you can. Do two sets for 60 seconds each.  1-2x/week. It enhances eye stamina and focus.

  • Eye Hand Speed Drill – Take a reaction ball and throw it down on the ground, to a partner, or against a wall and catch it. Vary the speed and distance. Develops hand-eye coordination and split second reactions. Do 4×8-12 with a minute or 2 rest inbetween 1-2x/week.

  • Accommodation Drill – Stand 20 feet away from a 36 letter eye chart. Hold a 9 letter eye chart 6 inches from your face directly underneath the line of vision of the 36 letter chart. Call out the first letter on the wall chart and then the first letter of the handheld chart and progress back and forth through both charts. Do 2 sets for 60 seconds each. 1-2x/week.

The better your vision is to track things in sports and process them, the quicker you can react and allow your athletic abilities to do what they need to do. Try the app or try these drills, but give it a shot for a month and see what happens.

Photo courtesy of StampMedia on Flickr: