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Vision Training: Effects on Motor Skills and Visual Ability in Experienced Racquetball Players

Merryman, Aubrey R.1; Abendroth-Smith, Julianne2

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2004 - Volume 36 - Issue 5 - p S9
Annual Meeting Abstracts: A-20 – Free Communication/Slide: Sport Biomechanics
Free

1University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, CO.

2Willamette University, Salem, OR.

Email: amerryma@uccs.edu

(Sponsor: Kathy Simpson, FACSM)

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Sports optometrists have adapted clinical vision training programs for use in sport settings. Generalized vision training programs, commonly supported by the American Optometric Association (AOA), claim to improve sports performance through enhanced visual ability. Limited research exists in testing the effects of vision training on visual ability and the transfer to generalized motor skills. PURPOSE: To determine effects of vision training on visual ability and the improvement of motor skills in experienced racquetball players. METHODS: Fourteen participants were randomly assigned to two conditions; the treatment group underwent visual training using techniques developed from the AOA while maintaining traditional racquetball practice, and a control group involved only traditional practice. Measures of stereopsis, (binocularity and monocularity in depth perception), oculomotor skill (hand-eye coordination using a tracking device), and a sport-specific motor performance (a wall-volley test) were obtained before and after a 4-week training period. RESULTS: The oculomotor skill and motor skill both showed statistically significant pre to posttesting differences for both groups (F = 15.35, df = 1, pp = .002; F = 9.81, df = 1, pp = .01, respectively) but post test differences were not statistically significant between the treatment and control groups (F = .06, df = 1, pp = .81; F = 2.37, df = 1, pp = .15, respectively). CONCLUSION: A training effect existed for both oculomotor skill and motor skill, but vision training does not improve beyond that of the control group. Vision training leads to no significant improvements in visual ability or in the transfer to motor performance in racquetball players.

©2004The American College of Sports Medicine