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Vision training for netball. Pierre Elmurr BAppSc ( Orthoptics ) DOBA MAppSc ( ExerSportsSc ) Sports Vision Scientist Primary Eye Care & NSW Institute of Sport. Relationship of vision & skilled movement (Welford 1960 model.

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Vision training for netball

Pierre ElmurrBAppSc (Orthoptics) DOBA MAppSc (ExerSportsSc)

Sports Vision Scientist

Primary Eye Care & NSW Institute of Sport

relationship of vision skilled movement welford 1960 model
Relationship of vision & skilled movement (Welford 1960 model
  • Perceptual mechanism divided into the “HARDWARE” & “SOFTWARE”
  • Decision mechanism
  • Effector mechanism
perceptual mechanism starkes deakin 1984
Perceptual Mechanism (Starkes & Deakin 1984
  • “HARDWARE” - the reception of visual information; affected by the ocular characteristics of the athletes visual system
  • “SOFTWARE” - Perception of visual information; influenced by strategies an athlete develops & includes information processing, use of advanced cues, ball flight cues, gaze behavior and the use of anticipatory skills
hardware examination
“Hardware examination”
  • Identifies uncorrected refractive errors, contrast sensitivity and Binocular anomalies that could influence “software” decision making
netball specifications
Netball Specifications

Post height: 3.05m (2.4m modified netball)

Ring: 380mm internal diameter 15mm steel rod

No rules that govern colour only size and weight

vision training

"Vision training for sport is the application of specific exercises conducted over a period of time that leads to neural restructuring of cortex and brainstem pathways allowing a person to maximise efficiency while performing visual perceptual tasks leading to enhanced visual motor performance”

  • Specificity of the vision training programs
  • Skill level of the athlete
  • No “hardware” eye problem
visual motor training
Visual-motor training
  • Combining hardware & software processing produces a motor response
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Eye-foot coordination
  • Coincidence anticipation
  • Peripheral awareness reaction time
  • Total reaction time
motor skill
Motor Skill
  • Defined as skills in which physical movement is required to accomplish a goal of a task.
  • Classified into 3 groups
  • 1. Precision of the movement:
  • Gross (walking, jumping) vsfine motor skill (writing, drawing)
  • 2. Defining beginning & end point of a skill :
  • Discrete (hitting a button on a keyboard vscontinuous motor skill (swimming, running)
  • 3. Stability of the environment :
  • Closed (bowling) vsopen motor skill (tennis rally)
motor performance measures
Motor performance measures
  • Response output: Measures time, error and magnitude of a response
  • Response production: Measures include EMG, EEG measures describing limbs, joints, muscles & brain activity during movement
  • The most common measure of initiation of movement is reaction time
  • Response Time is the total time interval involving both reaction time & movement time
motor performance measures1
Motor performance measures
  • 3 common types of RT:
  • Simple RT: Only one signal and one response required (visual stimuli 180-200ms, auditory 140-160 ms)
  • Go/No- RT: Respond to one stimuli and not respond to another stimuli
  • Choice RT: A distinct response for each possible stimuli
  • Perceptual learning – ability to improve on a specific sensory/perceptual task with practice
  • Motor learning – process that improves motor performance through practice
  • Other forms of learning – visualization, anticipation, visual attention, range of cognitive strategies
motor learning
Motor learning
  • Motor learning – the changes associated with practice or experience leading to improvements in motor performance (observable production of a motor skill)
  • SVT is the motor learning tool and improvements in motor performance is a decrease in reaction time on the SVT board and on field improvements in hand speed
  • Level of motor performance is susceptible to fluctuations in temporary factors such as motivation, arousal, fatigue
the perfect netballer
The perfect netballer!
  • Fast, extremely agile, have quick hands, can jump high, fake pass, use a variety of moves and shoot accurately. Ability at sticking tight on their defender and putting extreme pressure on the opposition down the court
five important skills for netball
Five important skills for netball

Gaze control

Peripheral awareness

Visual search strategies

Visual coordination

Visual memory

gaze control
Gaze control
  • Gaze control is defined as the process of directing gaze to objects within a scene in real time.
  • A fixation occurs when the gaze is held on an object or location within 3 degrees of the visual angle for 100 milliseconds or longer
what do athletes see
What do athletes see?
  • How gaze is controlled in sport falls into 2 methods of research:
  • Visual search: the eye movements of athletes are recorded as they view videotapes, photographs, computer simulations, or other simulated content from their sport
  • Vision-in-action: Uses the gaze of the participant recorded while they perform in real world sport settings
goal shooting
  • Get ready to shoot. Stand with the ball inside the shooting 'D'semi circle; align your body to the netball post. place your feet shoulder width apart for balance
  • Hold the netball with one hand supporting it with the other hand
  • Stretch your arms above your head
  • Bend your knees and elbows, and as you straighten, release the ball and push it upwards, and give some backspin to make sure it goes in the net, not over it
  • Keep practicing
  • Focus on the ring, in particular the back of the ring
gaze control1
Gaze Control

In gaze studies in sport, all gaze (fixations, pursuit tracking, saccades, blinks) found in a task to a location, one gaze has emerged called the “quiet eye” as a significant contributing factor to higher levels of sports performance (Vickers, 1996a)

The Quiet eye is defined as a period of time when the fixation is stable on spatial information critical to effective and consistent motor performance

gaze control2
Gaze Control

Hold your gaze on one spot on the hoop (front, middle or back rim) for about 1.5 seconds

Regardless of location (all three are effective), you must fixate on one spot only

gaze control3
Gaze Control

Insulation from choking

Gaze control can help the athlete from choking under pressure

2 theories of choking

Too much self-focus causing normal automatic actions to become too conscious & deliberate

Too much external distraction causing athlete’s attention to be diverted from the task

Directing energy to gaze control during pressure situations insulates players from choking

shooting information
  • Try to simulate a real netball match during your shooting practice (4 times a week)


  • Mix up the position where you’re shooting from - try not to stand in the same spot and shoot 20 shots from the same spot
  • Mix up the timing of the shot – practice faking the defender off the shot
  • Team up – whether it’s a shooter or mid-courter to help out. Practice driving hard onto the ball, receiving the pass and shooting the ball successfully in the ring. Incorporate shooter moves such as rolls, dodges, double dodges and front cuts
  • Practice shooting when you’re physically exhausted
  • Leanne Hughes is a former international netballer who was written the Up and In netball shooting
shooting information1
  • Shoot with at least 75% accuracy
  • Aim for at least 8 attempts per quarter
  • Variables to consider when looking at shooting stats, which may effect the number of attempts you make each match:
  • There are two shooters in the circle, are you both sharing the shooting role evenly?
  • The strength of the opposition , hence the low number of attempts
  • The pace of the game - Is it a high scoring/low scoring match, filled with turnovers?
  • You want BOTH quantity & quality: Shooting 24/36 goals is MUCH better than shooting 12/12
peripheral awareness
Peripheral awareness

There are physiological limitations to human’s peripheral vision. binocular field is made up of overlapping monocular fields extending to about 200 degrees horizontally and 130 degrees vertically

Peripheral awareness training does not make an athlete’s peripheral vision larger but merely improves the awareness of the surrounding environment

peripheral awareness1
Peripheral awareness

Offensive and defensive players use peripheral awareness to track opponents, teammates, passing strategies and developing plays

Colour recognition of jersey is critical when developing drills

Peripheral awareness is used in:

Directional changes

Recognition & reaction

peripheral awareness drill multi coloured jerseys
Peripheral awareness drillMulti-coloured jerseys
  • Equipment: Netball
  • Duration: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Description:

1. Use an area ¼ size of the regular playing field

2. Divide players into 3 different groups of colours

3. Start with one netball

4. Players only pass to 1 colour & can only receive from 1 colour. Eg red passes to blue, blue passes to yellow and yellow passes to red

5. Add 2nd & 3rd netball to the drill to increase difficultly

visual search strategies
Visual search strategies

Elite athletes know where to look for the most important visual cues & information


Experienced players fixated on peripheral aspects of the play (position and movement of other players). Inexperienced players fixated on the ball and player passing the ball

Increase in frequency of fixations an advantage for anticipating pass destination during open play

visual coordination
Visual coordination

Eye – foot coordination

Eye-hand coordination

visual memory
Visual memory

Skilled players can recall & recognize patterns of play more effectively then less skilled players

Expert players use their knowledge of situational probabilities (expectation) to anticipate future events

E.g online game

SUDOKU - Improves logical thinking skills, decision-making, and brain-processing speed

decision making process of netball players
Decision making process of netball players

Exercises used to develop anticipation, imagination & awareness in netball should always have 3 objectives in mind:

1. To develop composure in possession with the ball

2. Anticipating situations ahead of time

3. To decrease the time needed to move the ball by having total awareness of the positions of all players

decision making process of netball players1
Decision making process of netball players

Coaches reinforcing these objectives can help players progress through the 8 step decision making process

Step 1: Observing how & where the ball is coming from

Step 2: Knowing where teammates are on the field

Step 3: Knowing where the opposition are on the field

Step 4: Deciding what to do with the ball

Step 5: Knowing your options by observing where the ball is to be moved

Step 6: Deciding when the ball goes

Step 7: Deciding how the ball goes

Step 8: Deciding why the ball goes (the tactical objective )

summary tips
  • “Hardware” examination if you feel its necessary
  • Identify specific weaknesses, set preseason goals
  • General & specific visual motor training twice a week on field
  • Off field training (SVT & online games)
  • Specific training for GA GS
thank you