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The second part of this, is about general brain health.

There is already a lot of research into the long term affects of heading the ball in soccer.

So much so that it has already been banned in training for the younger age groups in the US.

In case you haven't had the chance to read any of the research, what they are finding is that heading causes long term damage and shrinkage in the brain.

A study done on female college players found they had levels of brain damage comparable to that of the american football team.

And a study done on Norwegian soccer players found that they had reduced brain size, which the authors concluded must be a result of repeated heading of the ball.

It has also been shown to directly reduce cognitive performance, which is a big deal when players are playing multiple times per week and then going to school the next day.

Heading is such an important part of the game, I don't think it should vilified.

Instead I believe players should be doing vision training to help offset the damage. This is an idea that is supported by research.

What we also know is, the more healthy the brain is, the less likely it is to get injured.

And the faster it recovers, should an injury occur.

Vision Training is a simple way to improve brain health!

The eyes are directly connected to the brain via several cranial nerves. And almost the whole brain is used to process visual information.

This makes vision an easy but powerful way to improve brain health.

And this is why I think that every soccer team should be including vision training as a routine part of practice.

It only takes a few minutes and has the potential improve the course of the players lives.

As part of my soccer vision workshops I teach players simple exercises they can use. And I give them access to an online program, to provide continued support.


How Does The Program Work?

One of the key targets of vision training area the areas of the brain that process visual information. Training them makes them work faster, which gives players quicker reactions. This can be the difference between winning and losing. It helps attacking players react faster to through balls or crosses. It help defenders react more quickly to what their opponent is doing. And is a total game changer for goal keepers!

Vision training improves both hand to eye and foot to eye coordination. Foot to eye coordination is obviously one of the biggest limiting factors in a players performance. By improving it, high level players can get even better. And it can help less skillful players completely transform their ability on the pitch. Improving hand to eye coordination is another game changer for goal keepers.

The best players have great field vision. They can quickly look up and see the patterns of play that are unfolding. Or from a defensive perspective, they are better able to anticipate what is going to happen next. This tactical awareness depends on multiple different skills working well. But peripheral vision is especially important. Vision training drastically improves players tactical awareness.

Even at the highest levels most goals are conceded because of simple mistakes, rather than great play. And mistakes generally happen when a player loses focus. Maybe they switch off for a second allowing the player they were marking to get free. Or they didn't step up at the right time, so the offside trap failed. And lack of focus from the goal keeper nearly always results in conceding a goal. Vision training helps to build incredible focus that reduces the number of mistakes.

How Does Vision Training Reduce Concussions?

There are two parts to this.

Firstly vision training helps to improve peripheral vision.

This has been directly proven to reduce concussions in American Football.

With 2 weeks of vision training pre-season, they were able to reduce the incidence of concussion, by 90% for the rest of the season.

While it hasn't been directly studied like this in soccer, it makes sense that the same thing applies.

By knowing what is going on around them, players are more likely to be able to protect themselves. (This also applies to injury prevention too).

I made the following video to give you some tools you can use to train peripheral vision in your players. It's part of the program I give away to participants of the workshop.

About The Workshops

The workshops themselves are from 60 to 90 minutes long. I can come to your club to do them, or I can host them at my studio in North Vancouver.

They start with a quick introductory lecture, where I teach players about the importance of vision training and how to do it safely.

Next we do a series of assessments. Designed to:

  1. Identify specific dysfunctions that are reducing performance and increased the risk for injury / concussion
  2. Collect numerical data that can be used to monitor for improvements and also as a baseline to monitor throughout the season.

Then we move into a vision training session, where I teach players how to train 8 of the most important visual skills for soccer.

As part of the workshop, I also give players access to my online soccer vision program. This gives them a set of tools they can take away from the workshop, so they can continue to work on them.

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