A Players' Vision
The sport specific skill set for an offensive lacrosse player is picking the ball up off the ground, throwing, catching, and shooting. However, each player must have this skill set to be a well rounded player because there are offensive aspects of each position on the field. For example, defenders and goalies need to rely on offensive skills and strategies to clear the ball from the defensive half to the offensive half to give their team’s offense an opportunity to score. On the other hand, there are defensive aspects to each offensive position. For example, attackmen must rely on defensive positioning and angles to effectively ride when they turn the ball over to the other team.
BUT…understanding offensive and defensive skills and strategies will only get you so far. A player must have field sense and vision to implement these skills on the game field. Hand-eye-body coordination, depth perception, and peripheral vision are a skill set that sets playmakers apart from role players in any team sport.
These skills related to vision are like any other skills and can be improved.
Depth perception – this can be improved by shifting focus from near objects to far objects for multiple reps. You can also practice catching and throwing passes with only one eye open.
Peripheral vision – Practice turning your head either way and see how many details you can see out of the corner of your eye.
Hand-eye-body coordination – a great way to improve this is playing table tennis. Another good way is to learn how to juggle.
A player can be creative and combine some of these exercises when playing wall ball by moving forward and backward from the wall using one eye to focus. To improve body coordination, a player can play wall ball on one foot at a time using one eye. Another way to improve hand-eye body coordination is by surveying where everything is in your shower then showering with your eyes closed. This will challenge and improve your visual memory.
At practices during skill work, coaches should be challenging their players to keep their eyes on the horizon in order to see everything in front of them and peripherally. A great drill to do is having each player execute giant roll backs and challenging them to keep their eyes toward the middle of the field or a fixed object making sure the players snap their heads around to find the object as fast as possible.
The only time a player’s head should be down is when they are picking up a groundball, and even then they should be using peripheral vision to protect themselves to find an exit or quick passing opportunity.
Players and coaches, focus on vision as a skill set because your player’s will improve quicker and have more success on the game field.