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The process of training your visual system to relay information from the eyes through the brain to set the body in motion, in order to perform quickly and accurately.
Mitch Korn, NHL Goalie Coach for 25 years: "All athletes are looking for an edge and ways to improve. Coaches want to find ways to evaluate and help their players get better. It became evident to me as I watch and evaluate goaltenders, that some "see the puck, track the puck, find the puck in traffic, and catch the puck" better than others. Why is that? Eyes and the way they work together are truly the "new frontier for hockey goaltenders". Baseball, for example, has been on this for years.
And so, when I wanted to explore and test our PRO goalies with the Nashville Predators, I researched and reached out to McDonald Eye Care. When I joined the Washington Capitals, one of the things I did was determine if Braden Holtby had "Elite Athlete Eyes", and it was McDonald Eye care who evaluated and provided us additional ways to improve."
Here is the article detailing Mitch Korn and Braden Holtby's trip to the Vision Performance Center at McDonald Eye Care Associates: A Vision Quest
Steve Briere, VPC Consultant and NHL Goalie Coach: I work with them on tracking and vision and work on strengthening their vision — their sports vision, not just their vision. Not reading 20-20 on a chart, but calculating depth perception, how fast can they do that? Seeing the puck side-to-side, top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top. All of those movements in the eyes can be trained and be worked on and can be strengthened.
Skills addressed through Sports Vision:
Depth Perception - Ability to quickly and accurately judge the speed and distance of objects/players.
Dynamic Visual Acuity - Ability to clearly see moving objects.
Hand/Eye/Body Coordination - Ability to respond to visual information, which involves timing and body control.
Visual Pursuits - Ability to follow an object accurately.
Visual Acuity - The sharpness and clarity of your vision.
Visual Concentration - Ability to control your visual system for better awareness and less distractions.
Visualization - Ability to picture something in your mind while you are concentrating and seeing something else. Your brain doesn't know the difference between performing the activity or visualizing it.
Visual Reaction Time - The speed at which your brain interprets and reacts to your opponent's actions.
1. Improve visual quickness/response time
2. Heighten contrast sensitivity
3. Improve visual awareness and peripheral awareness
4. Reduce eye fatigue
5. Improve hand-foot-eye speed and coordination
6. Sharpen near-far focus
YOUR GAME ISN'T STATIC,
NEITHER IS YOUR SPORTS VISION TRAINING
- One-on-One (on-site)
- Team or Group (on or off-site)
- Camp (off- site)
VPC In the News:
Unmasked: Vision training a new tool for goaltenders. For many goalies, though, the most important muscles are in their head... "Your biggest muscle as a goalie is your eyes," Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby said. "I do a lot of visual training in my pregame routine to warm up my eyes and keep them sharp. If you're not seeing it, nothing else matters. Your eyes are the basis of your whole game."... One of Holtby's first interactions with Capitals goaltending coach Mitch Korn after he was hired in 2014 was a trip to Minnesota to have his vision assessed at McDonald Eye Care. Based on results of tests designed to measure how well the eyes worked together, they come up with a training plan, including unique eye exercises, to improve a goalie's vision.
Leafs new goalie guru has a plan. "I’ve been working on vision-training programs and tracking-training programs with a company called McDonald Eye Care. I work with them on tracking and vision and work on strengthening their vision — their sports vision, not just their vision. Not reading 20-20 on a chart, but calculating depth perception, how fast can they do that? Seeing the puck side-to-side, top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top. All of those movements in the eyes can be trained and be worked on and can be strengthened." -Steve Briere, VPC Goalie Consultant and NHL Goalie Coach.
'Unorthodox training' will soon become the standard of training. Prior to training camp, Korn took Holtby to a vision centre in Minneapolis to help "train his eyes" to the see the puck better. In one of their first practices together, he shot pucks at Holtby that had been painted white and had him try to stop shots while clutching a medicine ball in his hands in an effort to make him more compact and controlled in his crease.
‘An exciting time’ for Capitals goalie Braden Holtby “It’s definitely the next thing when it comes to training athletes,” Holtby said, something Korn has echoed..
The vision quest of Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and coach Mitch Korn “The next frontier,” is what Korn had called the field of sports vision, and an overnight trip to the Midwest on Sunday gave Holtby a full introduction. Before he was hired by Washington this June, Korn had organized a similar excursion for his goalies with the Nashville Predators, and high on the agenda with his new team was offering the same treatment for Holtby.
What the Athletes Have to Say:
Dan Sexton on Sports Vision (KHL)-I have been working with Dean and McDonald Eye Care for a couple of months and have seen great improvement in my vision on the ice. They are great to work with and have pinpointed what I need to work on and have given me the exercises to improve. I highly recommend them to any athlete looking for a way to better themselves!
Hayden Anderson on Sports Vision: "I originally got into Sports Vision because I was interested in the military and did not have the depth perception necessary to pass the screening due to my amblyopia. Through my work with Bjorn in the Sports Vision Program, I witnessed steady improvement in my eyesight, and eventually passed the screening test. An awesome outcome of my work with Sports Vision was that it led to big improvements in my hockey game, and as my future interests shifted more toward hockey, Sports Vision helped make hockey in college become more of a reality. I found the program to be not only extremely rewarding, but also very interesting and a lot of fun. I would absolutely recommend the Sports Vision Program to anyone who is looking to improve their game."
Parents of Kallie on Sports Vision: "With gaining strength over her visual system, we feel it has really improved her sight of the puck, focus in hockey, as well as her reaction to make quick saves. In turn, the more saves she has, the more her confidence grows! She loves being a goalie and won't lose "sight of the puck" with help from Dean and The Vision Performance Center at McDonald Eye Care. Even though we can't thank you enough, Thank You"
Shawn on Sports Vision: "Not only did I improve my reading, but my sports performance improved as well. Since completing the program, my grades have improved and my hockey stats are among the best in the state. I feel more self-confident than ever before! Not only did Bjorn make the weekly visits fun, but I would come home each week with confidence that things were "beginning to click"."
Abby Cooper on Sports Vision: "I definitely have noticed a big difference! My dad and I both agree that I am catching the puck a lot better and it's much easier to track the puck on the ice this season."
Adam Alexander on Sports Vision: "Weekly sessions and practice reinforced how important your vision is for performance in a variety of areas... Sports Vision especially helps for baseball because so much of it relies on being able to pick up the ball from the pitcher's hand and recognize the speed/pitch/type etc.... I improved in different areas of my vision that I did not know could be improved... I would recommend this program to anyone looking to go above and beyond the usual training and for those who are committed to getting better in all areas."
Kyle on Sports Vision: "Of all the different types of training I've done for various sports, this has been arguably the most beneficial for me. Right away in baseball I started noticing the ball seemed to be coming in slower and I really started to notice the spin of the ball and recognize pitches better than I had before. After just a few sessions the varsity baseball season began and I had one of my best seasons ever. I am so glad I continued with the program because I really did get positive results that gave me an extra edge against my opponents."
Hamline Goalie on Sports Vision: "Working with Dean at Vision Performance Center has completely changed my game. I am tracking the puck much better and my peripheral awareness has dramatically improved. I am more aware of what is happening all over the ice and feel I have developed a much quicker reaction time. Not only have I seen improvements on the ice, but I’ve also seen improvements in my schoolwork. Successful goaltending requires an ability to see and stop the puck, and Vision Training should be seen as a critical “must do” for every goalie. I can’t thank everyone at Vision Performance Center and McDonald Eye Care enough for helping me elevate my game!"
VPC Athletes in the News:
Magnus Hellberg: Selected for AHL All-Star Team
Drew Brevig: "Quarterback" of Ohio State
Hayden Anderson: Remains a Constant for Princeton
Sports Vision Training in the News:
Improved Vision and On-Field Performance in Baseball Through Perceptual Learning Trained players showed improved vision after training, had decreased strike-outs, and created more runs; and even accounting for maturational gains, these additional runs may have led to an additional four to five team wins. These results demonstrate real world transferable benefits of a vision-training program based on perceptual learning principles.
A Vision Training Program's Impact on Ice Hockey Performance The vision training program during preseason workouts had a positive impact on the players’ visual skills important for hockey. The players’ perception of their vision and how they were using their vision during competitive play also showed a significant change. The majority of the players felt that vision training was an effective use of their practice time allotted by the NCAA.
Vision Training Boosts Sports Performance (New York Times) Vision training actually has little to do with improving eyesight. The techniques, a form of perceptual learning, are intended to improve the ability to process what is seen. The idea is that if visual sensory neurons are repeatedly activated, they increase their ability to send electrical signals from one cell to another across connecting synapses.
An Exploratory Study of the Potential Effects of Vision Training on Concussion Incidence in Football The current data indicates an association of a decreased incidence of concussion among football players during the competitive seasons where vision training was performed as part of the preseason training. We suggest that better field awareness gained from vision training may assist in preparatory awareness to avoid concussioncausing injuries.
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