Strength and agility are not the only crucial skills on field or court. Many athletes overlook one of their best assets in their conditioning programs – their eyes.

Your ability to see, analyze, and react to events near and far on the field have a huge impact on your ability to play a game. Dunking that basket, returning that serve, receiving that pass, or knocking it out of the park all rely on the complex functions of your visual system.

There is a science behind vision training, and teams of doctors who research it too. A university baseball team recently participated in 6 weeks of vision training exercises to improve their batting and hitting. Overall batting parameters improved by over 10% from vision training exercises.

There are vision exercises that can help you improve skills such as body eye coordination, peripheral vision, contrast sensitivity, and visual memory. Up your game just by playing some fun eye exercises!

Try these at home:

#1 - The Stretch
Like muscles in the body, eyes should be stretched to remain flexible. You can improve this skill at home by switching focus from near and far objects. Practice looking up from your computer and focusing on something about 18 inches away and then something even further away such as a view out a window.

#2 - Concentration—The Memory Game
Visual memory is one aspect of how we analyze what we see and retain information. It’s about remembering where the players are on the field as you receive the pass. Any time you practice memory games – such as an online matching game you are training a portion of your brain to recall correctly and quickly. Play memory games with a focus on improving your speed!

#3 - The Sidelong Glance
To improve your peripheral vision, Practice “watching” from the sides of your eyes, both left and right, throughout the day. See what details you can register with your peripheral vision.

#4 - The Lazy Susan
Put words into motion and practice reading them at different font sizes and different speeds. This tip gets its name though the simple trick of taping words to a spinning lazy Susan, a moving door, or a bouncing ball to practice your eye agility. Play with font, color, size, and familiarity of words and see how many words you can quickly you can read them.

#5 - The Mike Wazowski (from Monsters Inc.)
One of the most important visual tricks your binocular vision gives you is depth perception. This lets you know how far your feet are off the ground or far the shot is. Practice catching or kicking the ball with only one eye open, training each eye separately. Or play with small objects at arm’s length, like tapping two pencil tips or threading a needle.

#6 - Ping Pong
Ping pong isn’t just an awesome game! Table tennis, as it is more widely known, is a great way to improve your hand eye coordination. It’s a fast-moving game that teaches your brain to calculate a moving object and then react accordingly in a fast and accurate way.

To up your game start with these simple exercises or look into working with a qualified vision training specialist. Stay committed to your future!