Vision Training for the Goalies

4 - Published April 10, 2012 by in Featured

Assistant coach Eric Syverson played lacrosse at Grand Valley State. He’s now enrolled in the optometry school at IU and working with our goalies to improve their vision.

This spring our IU Men’s Lacrosse goalies have been undergoing sports vision
training, with help of the Indiana University School of Optometry (IUSO). Sports vision
training has been implemented for various professional sports team, guided by an
optometrist who has done a residency in binocular vision therapy. Currently the vision
therapy is underutilized at the college and high school level. Currently there are no
specific programs that meet the visual demands for the sport of lacrosse. The visual
requirements to be a top tier lacrosse goalie could be considered the most demanding
in all of sports when you take into consideration shot speed, shot release points
(overhand, ¾, sidearm, and low), and shot distance.

If interested in vision therapy it is first and foremost essential that you be seeing BETTER
than 20/20. With correction (contact lens/glasses) the majority of people under the age
of 30 should be able to see 20/15. Essentially that means you can read a letter at 20
feet, that a normal adult would read at 15 feet. It is possible for optometrists to even
tweek your prescription to fit demands, such as a goalie, who have different distance
visual demands past 20 feet.

Our entrance exam for our goalies included visual acuity (VA), depth perception, visual
reaction time, eye-hand coordination and a vision fixation test.

We then started training with juggling for hand-eye coordination, block string training
(exercising how your eyes work together when moving from a near target to a distance
target), and strobe-light training (in a completely dark room, first goalies passing a
tennis ball to one another on high speed strobe and then decreasing strobe light burst
to increase difficulty).

We are approaching our third week of training, and next week we will start to
incorporate Nike Strobe Specs for our goalies in game situations.

I am really excited about the new Nike technology and how it can be applied to lacrosse.
If interested in starting vision training look at the American Optometric Association
website under sports vision to find an
optometrist in your location to get you started.

We have been under the guidance of Dr. Hitzeman who was on the vision training team
for the 1996 summer Olympics and was awarded the American Optometric Associations
Sports Vision Section Sports Vision Optometrist of the Year at the 2005 AOA Congress.

Eric Syverson M.S.
Indiana University Men’s Lacrosse – Assistant Coach
Indiana University School of Optometry – Class of 2014

Some of the Nike Strobe training coming up.

Here’s freshman Ward Weber (Hillcrest, TX) trying to get dialed in a couple weeks ago.

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4 Responses to Vision Training for the Goalies

  1. Luscious Dick Tacoma April 10, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    This is the kind of thing that I really get into.  Are there any suggested published papers (particularly available online, but I have access to journals)?

    • eric syver April 10, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      There is only one study that has been published out of Duke University…a.   
      Appelbaum LG, Schroeder JE, Cain
      MS, and Mitroff SR. (2011) “Improved visual cognition through stroboscopic
      training”. Front. Psychology 2:276.

  2. eric syver April 10, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    block string = Brock String

  3. Fly April 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    How about vision training for the refs?

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