What will it take for the Raptors to win? A lot of people would say it’s playing tough defense, making the 3-point shots, a great coach and a little bit of luck. But is it luck or the best hidden secret to the game? What’s the secret you may ask? Strong visual skills. Take Steph Curry, for example. He didn’t win three NBA championships for no reason. To be as good as he is, Steph Curry works hard to enhance every aspect of his game and that includes vision training. Here are 5 key skills that the Raptors need in order to be on their A-game and clutch their first ever championship title.
Court Vision – Being able to multitask visually is crucial to being a successful basketball player. They always say to keep your eye on the ball, but does anyone ever talk about your peripheral vision? 90% of vision is peripheral and 10% is central. Your central vision is key for shooting, but having better peripheral vision is much more important. Peripheral vision is about knowing where you and everyone else are on the court to give you better perspective.
Visual Endurance – Ever wonder why some players get off to a great start but miss every shot in the last quarter? It takes a lot of energy to focus, track and judge distances all the while making split-second decisions during a game. Your visual stamina is important, just like keeping in good shape to be able keep up throughout the game (especially when you head into double overtime).
Visual Reaction Time – What does an athlete’s reaction time have to do with their vision? If you’re able to quickly process what you’re seeing, then you can react faster! Think of your vision as your high-speed internet, the faster the download speed the faster you’ll find your Google search! On the court this translates to having a quick offense, defense, creating turnovers, blocking a shot or rebounding a ball.
3-D Vision – Being able to judge distances requires our two eyes to work together as a team. This is how Kawhi Leonard sunk that epic three point shot in game 7 against Philly. He knew exactly how far to shoot the ball in mid-air to win the game and take us to the next round!
Figure-Ground Vision – To be a successful player you must be able to easily differentiate between objects from background clutter. An example of this is the player’s ability to successfully score a free throw with the distraction of the rest of the crowd in the background waving, clapping and distracting the player. Or making that critical pass to your teammate rather than having the other team steal it, leading to an easy basket.
Let’s hope that our Raptors team have been focusing on their vision along with their basketball drills to cap off a historic playoff run to bring home our first championship trophy!
Written by: Stephanie Teixeira & Dr. Fabian Tai
Image Credit: Christian Mendoza