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Visual Fitness > Training Concepts

The following drills are featured in 'Conditioning the visual system, Meir, R. NSCJ vol. 27, Aug 2005. These drills focus on 3 visual motor skills; vergence, focusing and tracking. The idea is that if players can locate, fixate, and focus rapidly on a target (e.g. a support player or oncoming ball) they would be less likely to make errors.

1. Eye Patch. This involved placing a plastic surgical eye patch over 1 eye while players performed a range of training drills. This encouraged players to turn their heads and shoulders toward their target and forced players to fixate more directly on the ball in order to receive it or pass to a target effectively. The recommended sequence is to perform drills without the patch, then on 1 eye, then on the other, then finally without. During these drills with Meir, players reported that they were able to detect and pick up the ball in their field of vision better after wearing the patch. Drills may also focus on patching the dominant eye.

2. Labelling balls. This involves labelling balls used in various passing drills with letters or numbers so that players have to identify a nominated marking as quickly as possible. These drills encourage players to fixate on the ball as the passer released it.

References: The Eyes - Soccer (Peak Performance On-line), 'Visual Search Strategies in Experienced and Inexperienced Soccer Players,' Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, vol. 65(2), pp. 127-135, 1994, Conditioning the visual system, Meir, R. SCJ vol. 27, Aug 2005.