Dragons Academy Vision For The Future

For the last year the Dragons Academy have teamed up with Sports Vision Wales to develop their vision skills to help them compete at the highest level of the game.  The idea came after the Dragons Academy Manager, Will Thomas, visited the IMG Academy in Florida a year ago as part of a WRU and Under Armour sponsored fact finding mission to research training methods and techniques from other sports.  ‘Although we found that rugby shared many common training methods and techniques with the American and International sports serviced through the IMG Academy, the one area that me and my colleagues had no prior knowledge of was ‘Vision Training’.  It seems obvious as to the merits of developing an elite athletes vision in sports such as rugby, football, tennis, shooting, baseball etc.. but it was less obvious as to how you can measure a baseline of vision performance, set a programme to deliberately enhance the athletes vision and how you can measure vision improvement.’

A year long pilot between the Dragons Academy and Eurfron Nyhan, a Behavioural Optometrist in Wales has seen the development of such a programme and which measures and develops, where possible, among other things:

  • Peripheral Vision and Awareness
  • Static and Dynamic Sight
  • Awareness and Responsiveness
  • Focusing, Vergence and Tracking
  • The Integration of Body Movement, Balance and Visual System(s)
  • Depth Perception
  • Contrast Sensitivity
  • Refraction
  • Dynamic Fixation

Having tested some of the Welsh Internationals during the Autumn International Programme, we were able to compare their test results against the Dragons Academy.  The results backed up our feelings that International players in general will have better visual skills that non International players and the players with the best visual skills played in key positions such as outside half. It makes sense when you think about it as the vision skills are not just a skill within itself but form part of the effectiveness of the overall skills package that an outside half needs at the top end of the game.

This is a video of a Sports Vision Performance Training session with the Newport Gwent Dragon’s Academy at the Sport Vision Wales Training Centre in Cardiff, Wales. Vision informs and guides even our smallest body movements so it makes sense that players dedicated to being the best in their field, are looking to build their visual stamina and prowess, striving for visual consistency to complement their physical and mental endurance.

This article was taken from: http://www.newportgwentdragons.com/News/Article/17280

By Will Thomas | 19/05/2011