In order to be a top tennis player in today’s day and age, it’s imperative that you have a well-rounded training regimen that goes beyond simply practicing on the court.
With that in mind, the John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA) has begun hosting Sports Vision Workshops at its facilities, bringing in Dr. Anne Hanna OD, FCOVD of Gold Coast Optometric Vision Performance in Oyster Bay, N.Y.
“There are a lot of positives,” Hanna said of doing visual training. “One is performance on the court or field, and the other positive is that the visual skills necessary to perform in your sport are also necessary to perform in the classroom. So by training your visual system for optimal performance in your sport, you also stand to improve your performance in the classroom.”
Hanna said oftentimes people conflate eyesight and vision, which can be misleading.
“I have kids who show up and say, ‘I don’t need to do this, I have perfect vision.’ But what they mean is they have 20/20 eyesight,” says Hanna. “There are over 20 visual skills you need to perform at your peak. That 20/20 number is only a small portion of the whole picture.
In the athletic world we’re very good at trying to fortify and strengthen modifiable factors. It’s just that vision is often overlooked as one of those factors. With 85 percent of our input in sports being visual, it’s a huge overlook to not say let’s strengthen our visual systems for us to perform better.”
The students participating in Hanna’s workshops have already begun seeing improvements on the court, according to Mike Kossoff, JMTA’s Long Island Annex Director.
“It’s really important that we be at the cutting edge, and give our kids the opportunity to be the best they can be. You look at any other sport whether its hockey, basketball, football, etc., they’re all doing this. And now it’s coming into tennis more, with Djokovic and Serena very involved with eye vision training,” said Kossoff. “John [McEnroe] was very adamant that we get involved in this. I think it’s something that’s really important. To have Dr. Hanna, who is the best at her craft, right here in our backyard, we’re so fortunate to be able to take advantage of that.”
And the players have enjoyed being able to enhance their games through the use of sports vision training.
“They love it,” Kossoff added. “Any chance they can get to get an edge on the court, and also improve in the classroom, it’s a win-win for them. Some of our best players have been doing this since September and we’ve already seen drastic changes.”