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Training the eyes to be better, faster, smarter


The best international sportsmen are information seekers. They are always on the lookout for new ideas or techniques that will provide an edge to elevate their performance.

Mickey Arthur has constantly used a phrase since taking over the role of the Australian cricket coach that resonates with many. He often states that he continually strives to create an environment of excellence that offers an atmosphere for his players to improve themselves. Gary Kirsten sings from the same hymn sheet but with a lower profile.

One aspect that Mickey has introduced this summer is assistance from Dr Cherylle Calder from EyeGym in the Cape. Cherylle, being a former South African women's hockey captain, speaks from a position of strength and is the first to admit what she offers is not rocket science. It is all about not taking your eyesight for granted and using your gift as an elite sportsman to better performances through expanding resources.

This original and unique training programme improves eye-hand coordination by sending the right message to the brain to quicken response, therefore escalating results.

Many in every walk of life underutilise sight. Like other essential components of the human anatomy, eyes can be worked and developed and visual skills enhanced. It starts with the will to do so. EyeGym's job within the Australian cricket team environment is to offer programmes for individuals who want to explore visual expansion possibilities. Not all embrace this concept and that is expected and accepted.

Their star pupil Ed Cowan admitted to me post Gabba test that this initiative assisted him. In essence he has learnt to relax his eyes and calmly focus on bowler release points without straining his eyesight, therefore allowing less stress to flow through his body to prevent inhibiting instinctive reaction.

Most things we do constantly in our normal existence these days stifle vision. The way we constantly scrutinise smartphones from short distances for email, twitter and other information stunts eye growth. As Dr. Calder reminds, a simple exercise we all did as children like walking and balancing on a wall allowed us to ingest valuable information to develop our senses without us actually knowing.

These days that type of outdoor activity rarely happens as youth are obsessed with the likes of video games indoors. An important growth component is now void from our lives at an influential age due to technological progression.

It is all about awakening a sleeping giant in my book and embracing an aspect that can reward through training and practice and engaging expertise. Why would elite individuals not want to better themselves if they can?

Dr Calder's high-profile clients are a who's who of international trophy winners, from World Cup winning rugby teams to individuals who excel. Perhaps the most striking testimony is provided by Ernie Els who has used EyeGym extensively of late with significant success. Following this successful Major-winning collaboration, a number of other world-class golfers have enquired about employing Cherylle's services.

Ernie is having none of that. He wants to be the only golfer to benefit and is currently insisting that only he receives this unique edge to elevate his performance.

That says enough.


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