The Role of Vision For Football Players

Published on
February 17, 2022

Football is a sport in which vision plays a significant role. Sports Vision therapy can really enhance your performance as a football player. Visual skills such as reaction time, eye-hand coordination, and peripheral awareness are going to be required regardless of the position you play. Having great peripheral awareness is about maintaining focus on what's right in front of you while also being aware of what's happening around you.

In the article below we will highlight some of the visual skills that transform a good football player into a great player. With any sport, each position will rely more heavily on different visual skills, although most of these skills will also enhance all players' performance. 

Quarterback

Quarterbacks are known for throwing the ball to receivers, and this entails several vision skills. This position requires excellent depth perception and depth estimation. The reason why it is important is that when you throw the ball you need to know how far to throw it and where you need to place it.

A quarterback should also have the following skills:

  • Hand-eye coordination: A quarterback's ability to handle and accurately throw the ball under pressure is improved with good hand-eye coordination.
  • Enhanced peripheral Awareness: The quarterback's main job is to throw the ball, yet there are always many other things happening as well during a play. Being aware of his teammates, as well as evading tackles from other players, is vital to the quarterback's success.
  • Visual reaction time: During a football play, things happen quickly, and a quarterback needs to react fast to spot an open player and throw accurately, as well as to avoid a tackle.

Running-Back

A running back has many tasks to perform in a football game. An important skill for a running back is visual memory. The ability to recall all of the plays and visualize them in your mind so that you are at the right place at the right time.

Other Important skills for a running back include:

  • Enhanced peripheral awareness: The running back's role requires him to move up the field constantly, so his peripheral awareness must be very high for him to avoid colliding with his teammates and evade opponents.
  • Visual reaction time: In a sport with so much activity occurring at once, it is crucial for a running back to be able to react to new visual stimuli as quickly as possible without needing to take time to process. Whether it is the ball or oncoming opponents, increasing the reaction speed of a player can give him an edge over his competition.

Receiver

Wide receivers are primarily responsible for catching passes thrown by quarterbacks and scoring touchdowns. In addition to great tracking and ocular motility skills, wide receivers must also have great dynamic visual acuity. They need to be able to maintain clarity and good vision on the ball while it's moving quickly through the air.

Receivers should also have the following skills:

  • Eye tracking and movement precision: The receiver has to track the ball as it flies towards him in order to catch it. When the play is in progress, eye tracking can also help keep track of what the opposing team is doing. 
  • Hand-eye coordination: By having superior hand-eye coordination, you will be better able to catch passes thrown from a distance.

Linebacker

The linebacker's job is to prevent the receiver from completing the pass and running the ball into the end zone. While they're being pushed around on the line, they're going to need really good vestibular and visual integration to maintain their balance. 

A linebacker should also possess the following skills:

  • Depth perception and distance estimation: Linebackers must be able to judge the distance between various players quickly and accurately so they can make a tackle.
  • Eye Tracking: The skill of eye tracking also helps the player get to the opposing ball carrier and tackle him to prevent a score.

 

What is Sports Vision Training? 

Dr. Heather McBryar runs the sports vision program at Amplify EyeCare of Chattanooga. The program works with athletes of all ages and skill levels to improve their visual performance, specially focusing on the visual skills used in the sport and position that they compete in. Sports vision training is done in the office one on one with our sports vision therapist and is accompanied by home exercises. 

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