Soccer, a favorite sport in Dr. McBryar’s household relies heavily on visual skills. This includes excellent eye-hand-and-foot coordination, excellent depth perception, and the ability to estimate distances. Integration between the vision and balance systems is also crucial. Additionally, soccer players must also have good visual reaction time as well as dynamic visual acuity to maintain clarity while an object is moving.
The forwards are often credited with most of the glory in soccer because they are situated near the opposing team's goal. The position requires high levels of awareness both in terms of their own interaction with the ball as well as the other players around them. As with any sport with fast moving balls, a forward must be able to react as fast as possible to incoming visual information without needing to take time to process the visual information, this is called quick visual reaction time.
Forwards need the following skills:
Visual reaction time: The forward doesn't have much time to react when the ball and multiple players approach him/her, and he/she will likely only have one chance to go for the goal. The ability to process and react quickly to new visual information is crucial to a forward's success.
Hand(foot)-eye coordination: Getting the soccer ball to go where the forward wants requires quite a bit of skill. In order to become a better forward, coordination needs to be improved, which will lead to faster, more accurate reactions.
Midfielders occupy the middle of the field, and they are the link between the offensive and defensive lines. In a game, midfielders tend to see the most action and move the most, so they must be accurate passers.
A midfielder should have the following skills:
Hand(foot)-eye coordination: Many of their activities require expert ball handling and passing techniques, which is why even the slightest advantage in coordination can be crucial.
Enhanced peripheral awareness: The midfielder has to be aware of all the players around him/her as they move up and down the field. The midfielder's superior peripheral vision can be the difference-maker in getting to where he/she needs to be at the right moment.
Depth Perception: Being able to properly assess the distance of a fellow player or goal is important for the midfielder to ensure accurate passes and shots.
A defender's main job is to stop the offense of the opposing team and prevent goals from being scored. Whether an opponent scores or not depends on the defender's ability to react quickly when it matters most.
Defenders should possess the following skills:
Enhanced peripheral awareness: Play near the goal is often quite fast-paced, and defenders have to remain vigilant not only of their opponents, but also of their teammates, so they can avoid collisions and coordinate.
Speed of visual processing: The quicker visual information can be processed in high-pressure situations, the greater the chance that the defender can react quickly enough to prevent the opposing team from scoring.
Dynamic Visual Acuity: The defender needs to keep track of the ball as it moves around the field. Dynamic visual acuity is a vision skill that allows a player to see moving objects clearer.
As compared to the other members of a soccer team, the goalkeeper has a very different job to perform. For a successful goalkeeper, following the action and acting quickly are essential skills.
These skills are important for a goalkeeper:
Eye tracking and movement precision: By improving eye tracking, he or she will be able to better follow all movement, so that he or she can position him/herself to prevent the opposition from scoring.
Hand(foot)-eye coordination: A goalie needs to be able to react instantaneously to a ball coming in with any body part available. This means that he/she will need to be able to instantly and accurately signal the arms/legs/head/body to interact with a fast moving ball in a matter of milliseconds.
Visual reaction time: A goalkeeper must be able to react instantly based on visual input in order to prevent the ball from getting by him/her. An increase in visual reaction time could lead to significant improvements in goalkeeping performances.
If you are serious about getting an edge on the competition, schedule a sports vision evaluation with Dr. McBryar. During the evaluation Dr. McBryar will assess the visual skills used in your sport and position and identify which areas of visual performance can give you a major edge over your competition