most training centers around the country don't even think about “reactions” as
they could possibly pertain to a strength and conditioning program, at Athletic
Edge, we view it as the factor that bridges the gap between agility and quickness.
Avoiding objects or opponents is critical
for athletic success
In sports, reaction is the initiation of a physical movement in response to
some stimulus — swinging at a sinking curve ball, eluding a tackle and
making a catch, letting a ball bounce ever so close to the outside of a line. In
these examples, an athlete's ability to react can cost him, her, or the
team a championship. The issue is not purely one of eyesight and reflexes,
but of sports vision.
Many athletes assume that they have good vision, since they have 20/20 eyesight. But
this does not necessarily correlate with the critical factor of sports vision. Imagine
having 90 mph bat speed in baseball and still not being a good hitter. The
quick bat doesn't really help if a batter swings after the ball is in the
catcher's glove. It is said that a great hitter can read the spin
on the ball as it leaves the pitcher's hand. This lets him know if
it will be a curveball, fastball, etc. and respond appropriately.
to visual stimuli in the gym helps in game situations
20/20 is a static measure of sight. Sports, on the other hand, are dynamic
in nature, and sports vision is the dynamic use of sight. Imagine a wide
receiver running out for a pattern. He needs to see the defensive player
look back, see the quarterback, and track the ball moving through the air towards
him all at the same time. Sports vision takes all this into account. Using
the previous example, it involves depth perception (the ability to see things
near and far accurately), convergence (the ability for the eyes to cross and
focus), divergence (the ability of the eye to uncross and focus), and saccadic
eye movement (the quick jumping of the eyes from one object to the next). This
is a very complex process that needs to work perfectly for a high level of sport
performance. Sadly, many athletes believe that you're either born
with it or you're not. The truth is that there are ways to exercise
sports vision in combination with physical training.
ladder drills with reaction training adds realistic complexity
the trainers at Athletic Edge feel that reactions are so critical to
creating quickness, we have implemented a sports vision component to
complements athletes' sport-specific
conditioning programs. Using Vizual Edge sports vision software, Sacadic
Fixator and Peripheral Awareness Trainer, we can objectively and scientifically
evaluate the various parts of dynamic vision. We can then integrate the
proper visual drills into the training so that our athletes can perform at their
physical best on the court or field. Aside from results on the playing
fields or courts, we can also monitor progress by re-testing. As with all
the work done at Athletic Edge, reaction training is meant to be done at
the highest possible level.
Train to have better reactions, and learn to have better anticipation,
since most sports involve anticipatory reactions.
Anticipation is an educated guess as to what an opponent or ball is
going to do before it happens. This is a learned skill through practice and