Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Ages & Stages

Sports and Teens' Visual Abilities

Maturation of the eyeball-to-brain pathways improves rapidly to enable more complex patterns of action. Now the brain can see an object, judge where and how fast it is going, and tell the body what to do to get there at the same time.

Isn’t it amazing how the body works? That ability did not occur because Johnny ate more Wheaties, had a personal trainer, or practiced 4 hours a day starting at age 2. Changes like that happen on a genetic time clock ticking away in the DNA coupled with good exposure to the sport.

Improvement in visual precision has an obvious effect for every sport. Being able to see the swimmer in the next lane while judging the distance to the wall can make all the difference in executing the best possible finish. Seeing where to place the tennis ball, volleyball, or basketball can lead to an ace serve or a made free throw.

Visual maturity will help wrestlers and martial artists carry out more difficult moves as their peripheral vision becomes more effective. The implications of visual maturity are obvious for all of the ball sports, as well as sports like diving, gymnastics, and skating that rely on visual markers to perform certain maneuvers.

Paul R. Stricker, MD, FAAP
Last Updated
Sports Success Rx! Your Child's Prescription for the Best Experience (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Follow Us