Jan 29, 2015
Eyeing the NFL Draft

NFL draft prospects working out in preparation for the NFL scouting combine have added a new element to their preparation: Vision training. For example, at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., David Da Silva works on improving how athletes use their eyes.

“The greatest athletes in the world, they see things faster, quicker, and make decisions better than others,” Da Silva, who leads IMG’s vision training program, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re talking about split-second differences that can be obtained.”

The Inquirer writes that at IMG, Da Silva has players look through a tachistoscope, a device that quickly flashes a series of images, each containing a number.

The backgrounds and colors change – maybe in one flash the numbers are on a ball, in another the digits are on an image of a football player – and players have to write down the numbers they see. The 10 flashes show up for as little as .13 seconds each, and appear on a 35- to 40-inch television screen, forcing the players’ eyes to cover a wide area.

The challenge is to find, identify, and process the information.

“We are helping the eye muscles be more efficient,” and helping the brain’s visual cortex respond faster, Da Silva said.

More on Vision Training:
Michael Zupan, PhD, Director of the United States Air Force Academy’s Human Performance Laboratory, along with Al Wile, MS, the Laboratory’s Assistant Director wrote about about vision training for Training & Conditioning in this article from March 2011.

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