Major senses (vision, visual sense), hearing (audition, auditory sense), and touch (somatosensorial, somatosensory sense) are essential for athletic performance.Vision delivers 80 percent to 90 percent of the information for the mind. More than 50 percent of the brain’s neural tissue is directly or indirectly related to vision. There are more than 30 brain regions and eight cranial nerves involved.
The brain also accounts for 20 percent of the resting body’s total energy requirement. Visual processing alone accounts for 44 percent of the brain’s energy consumption.
There are two streams for vision processing that have different ways of controlling our actions and reactions. The “ventral stream” exerts visual control over performance in a more indirect way by judging the success of the task. The “dorsal stream” provides direct, moment-to-moment control of our actions. Combined, both streams can produce and provide rapid and accurate action and reaction.
Vision consciousness depends upon activity in the ventral stream, which is slower, but provides us with more information. Its purpose with regard to action is to judge the success or failure of a given action or reaction. Those successful actions become working memory which allows the visual information to be used subconsciously and more rapidly. In addition, this information can be used to decide between different actions, and to plan future actions.
The takeaway from this information is that vision plays a dominate role in the performance of any athlete who participates in sports involving action and movement.
The many biological systems of humans can be strengthened and conditioned to maximize performance. The visual and neural neuromuscular systems can be strengthened and conditioned as one. Just as weight training can produce stronger muscles, visual training using projected videos and other images can strengthen the visual and neurological systems. The training program utilizes the process known as Prime memory, which was discussed in part 1, which can create the working memory as described above leading to successful actions necessary for peak performance.
Regardless of your sport, if it requires perception and action, we have a training program for you. Learn more at Pro-Vectra.com.
This article was written by Dr. Bob Orsillo, O.D., who provides sports vision services in Tallahassee, Fla., is the optometric physician for all Florida State University athletic programs, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). He volunteers as a clinical coordinator in the Opening Eyes Program with the Florida State Special Olympics. He is also the founder of ProVectra, a training program that combines measures of visual transit speed and information capacity with state-of-the-art motion-tracking and data capture. More information is available at Pro-Vectra.com.