Sports optometrist Patrick Gerry had his second session with the Raiders today. He will continue to work with Raiders players throughout the 2005 season to try and fine-tune their eye coordination.
Gerry, who also works with AFL club the Brisbane Lions and the AIS/AFL Academy, said good eyesight was separate from good vision.
Gerry said a lot of sports people could see clearly, but he predicted about one third of them suffered depth perception problems and didn�t even know it.
He anticipated his exercises would help the Raiders players improve their eye coordination, therefore making them more confident in attack.
�My general summary of sports people is that 30 per cent of them will have some sort of depth perception problem,� Gerry said. �You can obviously still make it to elite level with visual problems, but when you�re trying to find that little edge over the opposition, if you can eradicate common errors then hopefully you�ll find some improved performance on the football field.
�You talk to any footballer about making a mistake and it�s generally based around timing. Timing is simply interpreting what you see. So when guys make a mistake they are sometimes misinterpreting what they see. As a result they can mis-time a pass or mis-time running on to a ball.�
Raiders coach Matt Elliott expected the vision training would reduce handling errors, but he also wants it to create more opportunities for the Raiders in attack.
�It�s not just about eliminating errors you see in the stats book, it�s about reducing the number of poorly executed passes or catches. By eliminating those errors, you can take opportunities when they present themselves,� Elliott said. �It�s just about trying to maximize the players� vision in combat circumstances.
�At the elite level you�re always looking for ways to improve performance and vision is something coaches often talk about. To practice it with some real expertise is a great opportunity.�