I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE

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The eye sees, the brain processes and the body follows.

Every quick action begins with perception. The eye affects 90% of our perceptions, which is why its performance is the key to athletic success. Most flaws and mistakes in sports are based on visual misconceptions that lead to (technical or tactical) erroneous decisions. Consequently, powerful vision leads to faster perception and thus to correct decisions.

Did you know how much the constant looking on your mobile phone or computer actually strikes our eyes?

We look convergent up to a distance of about 6m. This means, the eyes "tend towards each other" (accommodation), which is, on the one hand, essential to be able to focus on a picture at close range and, on the other hand, not to perceive a picture twice (logically, we are binocular/ two-eyed). Naturally, the accommodation of the eye muscles strains the eye muscles. We might be better able to understand the situation with the following example in a transferred situation: Imagine having to hold a heavy shopping bag with a bent arm all day. How long would you last? Probably not very long!

Now, let's face it: how much time do we spend each day in front of our computer or mobile phone - whether at work, school, during sports, traveling to a competition, maybe even during a competition...? Most of us actually spend a good deal of our time in front of a digital device. We should therefore (including us!) practice what we preach and become aware that this movement strains our eyes and, thus, our brain, which screams for recovery afterwards.

But how often do we actually give our brain the recovery it needs? Do you know how long the brain or the eyes need to be able to regenerate completely from the "muscular exertions" of playing on our mobile phone?

When we heard the numbers, we almost could not believe them:

  • 1 hour phone/ computer: 10 minutes break to fully recover

  • 3 hours phone/ computer: 1 hour break to fully recover

  • 8 hour phone/ computer (= a journey to a competition site far away, watching a movie on the plane, a normal working day): 24 hours break to fully recover!

Now each one of you can think for yourself how much he or she is actively planning or taking such breaks... Imagine, after such a visual effort, you have to perform at your best, which requires your full attention and concentration! Not least for this reason, some sports clubs in Germany have introduced a mobile phone ban before (important) games pronounced...

Now think about how you could improve your own routines and competition preparations to get ready and be as recovered and competitive as possible.

How much time do you usually spend in front of your mobile phone before a competition or training? Could you possibly even notice a loss of concentration? Have you ever noticed that your training performance is getting worse, for example, when you have worked all day in front of the computer and then you go to training?

If the processing of visual stimuli is not stable enough or faulty, our brain is required to compensate for these errors - and this, in turn, costs strength, energy and concentration, which then is missing when we climb or doing any other sportive activity - in the technical execution, proper tactical behavior, planning, etc.

When we train our visual performance - our motility, ambiguity, accommodation and brain integration - we can improve the processing of visual stimuli and the stress resistance of our visual system. In addition, through visual training, we can also train our prefrontal cortex - the area of our brain that is responsible for our decision-making, planning, motivation, weighing consequences, prioritizing. This area decides, among others, whether we stay "cool" in stressful situations or panic and make mistakes. The more we train this area, the greater the likelihood of being able to withstand pressure situations and to be able to make clear, strategically sound decisions with a "cool head". Ergo, if we train our visual performance, we not only train the visual processing of stimuli, but also to withstand stressful situations.