The Science of Tennis And Your Eyes

Tennis is a very demanding sport, and especially tough because of the excellent relationship it requires between your eyes and body movement to produce the sport loved by many. Top scientists and researchers have narrowed down the top 4 ocular skills needed to effectively play the sport. In honor of the U.S. Open getting underway in our hometown of Queens, New York, let’s take a look at them!

Skill #1: Eye movement accuracy

Eye tracking in tennis is the ability to locate the ball precisely on your opponent’s racket and follow it to your racket as you return the shot. This should be done with as little head movement as possible. Head and neck movement is inefficient, increases stress, uses extra energy, and causes the athlete to lose balance because of stimulation of the inner ear. It certainly is easier to move two eyes that weigh several ounces, instead of a head weighing 15 pounds!

Skill #2: Spatial awareness

Spatial awareness is knowing where you are, where the ball is and where your opponent is on the court without dedicating all of your brain’s focus on determining the path of the ball and your own movement. This should all come second-nature once this skill is fine-tuned. Knowing this is critical to winning points. 

Skill #3: Dynamic visual acuity

The ability to see clearly while following a moving target is extremely important in sports such as tennis, baseball, hockey, racquetball, squash, football, and all other sports that require following a moving object while also moving your body. Put simply, it’s your ability to see clearly and without obstacle. Many professionals either undergo corrective surgery like LASIK or PRK, while others opt for contact lenses or prescription sports goggles

Skill #4: Eye-hand coordination

Eye-hand coordination is the integration of eyes leading and directing hands in order to perform a task. This integration is of critical importance in tennis, as the two eyes tell the hand where the ball is, when it will be there, and they direct the swing for an accurate hit. It is a learned skill, highly dependent upon eye movement accuracy, dynamic eyesight, and the two eyes coordinating together.

If you feel that your skills in these areas are a bit lacking, luckily there are exercises to train your eyes as you would any muscle to get better and play at a more competitive level! Visit us at any of our five locations in Queens, Long Island, and Manhattan by giving us a call at (718) 793-2020 or requesting an appointment here.