As we, at Semenza Behavioral Optometry, prepare to host our first Sports Vision Camp beginning in July, I skimmed through a book that Dr. Christine Semenza was reading to improve her OWN tennis game. The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey (1974) was filled with little gems! It talked about the physical aspect, of course, but it also touched upon the emotional side of being involved in a game, playing against one opponent or an entire team, and, also, the stories we tell ourselves, both positive and negative.
The following quote really resonated with both the doctor and me: “Judgmental labels usually lead to emotional reactions and then to tightness, trying too hard, self-condemnation, etc.” (36). Within our anatomy, or our physical structure, we know that muscles are either relaxed or contracted; that goes for your biceps femoris, part of your hamstrings, to your masseter and the temporalis, the muscles that open and close your jaw, to your pupils dialating.
Stress causes your pupils to dilate as a result of the fight or flight response system that we, as people, are all wired with. Dilated pupils allow more light to enter your eyes in case you need to react quickly, potentially leading to light sensitivity and headaches. Stress can also cause you to tighten your facial muscles, constricting blood flow and causing blurry vision and more headaches.
So, have you noticed your own fight or flight response on the field affecting you or your child’s game? And can us athletes be more allowing in letting the play, hit, or shot simply happen with less stress, fear, hesitation, and aggression?
We invite you to register your child for this exciting opportunity running for FOUR weeks beginning July 10th. He or she will become more aware of the following:
- where is the ball? (eye tracking, eye focusing, & peripheral surroundings)
- timing–where am I on the court/field?
- coordination–body, mind, breath connection & depth perception
- letting it happen vs. making it happen: effort, ease, confidence, & clarity
We look forward to seeing you!
Thanks for reading,
Meredith, Vision Therapist