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An investigation of visual skills in athletics

15 March 1982


This study set out to investigate the questions of whether visual skills abilities are better in athletes than non-athletes and whether there is a difference in these same skills between men and women. For the purpose of this study, the visual skills abilities that were evaluated were dynamic visual acuity, ocular motility, stereoscopic depth perception, eye-hand coordination and central/peripheral awareness. The statistics showed that there was no overall significant difference in those visual skills measured between athletes and and non-athletes, or between men and women. However, when statistics of individual tests were examined, results showed that the athletes scored significantly better than non-athletes on the Groffman Visual Tracing correct score test and on dynamic visual acuity testing. The non-athletes scored significantly better on the Duane Saccadic Fixator Reaction test. Visual skills differences between men and women was negligible according to this analysis. It is difficult to explain why athletes scored better on some tests while non-athletes scored better on others. The small sample size could be a factor. Another possibility is that the tests used may not be accurate indicators of the visual skills required in athletics. If these tests are accurate indicators of those visual skills required in athletics, it is then also possible for a non-athlete to perform well on these same tests, possibly due to experience in non-sports related activities requiring similar visual skills. It would obviously be very difficult to control for these variables. Since we found no differences in visual skills abilities ascribable to the sex of the subject alone, we suggest that women who b~gin their athletic training at comparable ages to men athletes will possess sports vision skills equal to those men.


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