Thursday, 13 March 2014

Eye Gym - visual training

A week ago I started on Dr Sherylle Calder's EyeGym programme. This has come about through the SA Orienteering Federation. Fellow coach, Tania, and I are doing the month-long programme to gauge our gains with orienteering map-reading skills in mind, and whether this is something that we would like our youth, junior and senior orienteers to do.

The basis behind EyeGym is to improve how much and how quickly you see - it isn't about your eyesight, but what you take in. This affects how you respond, decisions you make... "Most people are born with good eyesight but vision, the ability to identify, interpret and understand can be trained and improved," it says on the site.

Orienteering is a very visual sport. From looking at a map while moving to looking at your surrounds and back again. If you can take in more and more and more with just a quick glance at the map - and keep your eye on where you are while running... all the better.

Every day I login for a 15 minute session. There are four skills - eye skipping, track following, eye speed and hand-eye coordination - that I'm training daily. Each has a specific game and there seem to be 30 levels for each. I'm over halfway on all except eye skipping, which I'm finding to be quite challenging (but I did go up another level today). As you go up the levels, the objects move faster and there are more distractions to fox you.

I've found that mid-morning or noon are the best times to do my daily drills. At night I'm too tired to track fast-moving balls and to react fast enough to climb levels.

Tania started the month-long online programme three weeks ahead of me. She only has a few days left and is ranked 4th overall! She finally achieved her one outstanding level yesterday and, as per Sherylle's recommendations, she turned her hand to practising on lower-levels, which she found to be very slow -  a sure sign of advancement. At the moment I find gaining each level to be challenging although I'm climbing up the ranks daily.

It will be interesting to see where I end up in another 25 days.

1 comment:

Staci said...

Looking forward to hearing of your progress.