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Thesis

Efficacy of a digital sports vision training program for improving visual abilities in collegiate baseball and softball athletes

8 May 2020

Abstract

SIGNIFICANCE: Dynamic reactive sports such as softball and baseball involve a variety of visual abilities such as visual acuity, depth perception, contrast sensitivity and eye-hand coordination. Sports vision training has changed manifold over the years and digital procedures have started to replace the analog procedures. We expect the results of this study to advance the field of sports vision training by understanding the training effects from a short course of training. This study also compares data from experimental and placebo training groups, which is currently unavailable for baseball and softball athletes. PURPOSE: There is a need for evidence supporting the efficacy of these digital training programs, specifically research that incorporates a randomized placebo-control training group. While the reliability of the Senaptec Sensory Station has been assessed in a previous study, the efficacy of its training procedures is yet to be studied. METHODS: This study used a randomized, double-blinded and matched-control design. Eighteen softball players and 14 baseball players from Pacific University’s teams were equally and randomly divided into experimental and placebo training groups and were trained 3 times a week for 20 minutes a day over 3 weeks. The athletes in the experimental group were trained on procedures to improve their dynamic visual acuity and depth perception. Similarly, athletes in the placebo group were trained on procedures with no apparent direct impact on the visual parameters. The key assumption was that the experimental training procedures should show skill improvements on the visual performance assessments after 3 weeks of training. RESULTS: The experimental training programs did not produce significant improvements in dynamic visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and depth perception when compared to the placebo training (p>0.05). CONCLUSION: The visual performance measures did not show improvements in the post-training and follow-up examinations for either the experimental or placebo training groups. These results may be attributed to the short training duration, small sample size and better than normal visual and stereo acuity among most of the athletes at baseline. However, this serves as a good pilot data for future replications and as a reference as it provides randomized and placebo-control data of collegiate baseball and softball athletes.

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ShekarS_MSVS_OPT_2020.pdf
8 May 2020
Public
1.24 MB