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The Athletic Edge: Five critical visual skills for soccer success

iStock_000008881444Large_R2The 2014 FIFA World Cup is underway. As you watch the games you might think about the diets and training routines athletes adopt in order to perform at their peak. But, it’s not just the food choices or physical conditioning that gives these elite athletes an edge. They’ve also had to train their minds and eyes to conquer the competition.

Here are the top 5 visual skills for soccer players to master:

Visual Memory

This is an incredibly important skill when it comes to accessing how certain players play the game and how they react in certain situations. Recognizing the patterns of your teammates, and your opponents, is crucial to selecting the best offensive and defensive moves.

This requires rapid observation and should be practiced.

Peripheral Vision

This allows you to see what is happening not in front of you, but to the side of you. It’s a sense of who’s coming your way and allowing you to make the correct decision as to either change your direction or keep going. This also helps protect you from head-on collisions and ultimately injury. Soccer is played at a rapid speed: know who is to your side.

Hand-eye Coordination

Hand-eye coordination is an absolute must. For soccer, it’s even more critical that this part of your vision is sharp. When to pass the ball to a teammate and knowing the correct force to kick it is crucial. Running at a high-speed with a ball comes naturally through practice, but it can be tricky and almost impossible without excellent hand-eye coordination. Your body is controlling the speed and direction of the ball, but your eyes are directing the next move.

Gaze Control

When you kick to score a goal, are you looking up or is your focus and gaze down? Goalies are trained to follow your eye movement and trace where they think the kick will be aimed.

TIP: If you keep your eyes cast downwards, it will make it more difficult for the goalie to follow your cues, and make it more likely for you to kick the ball where you want it.

Depth Perception

Effectively gauging distance between yourself, the ball, and the net as well as judging what action to take based off this knowledge is vital in soccer. How many yards away is the net? How many feet away is your teammate closest to the net? These are all important questions that you have mere milliseconds to answer.

Who’s your favorite team playing in the World Cup? Let us know.

The key to having the athletic edge is simple. To be the best, you must “see” the best. This means enhancing contrast sensitivity, and visual acuity, while reducing the effects of glare and light sensitivity. Learn more about how Vizual Edge PRO and our other ocular supplements can preserve the quality an athlete’s most precious gift — eyesight.