An associate of Dr. Bailin’s, Dr. Gary Polan, O.D. (DrGaryPolan.com) was recently interviewed on Dr. Robert Klepper’s “Weekend Warrior” program on ESPN Radio 710AM. Dr. Polan spoke about growing up with Dodger Baseball, seeing a fastball, helping our reading skills, and Sports Vision Training. Did you know that about 5% of all Americans have severe reading disabilities that can be cured? How about that we spend over 10 hours a day looking at a screen which makes our eye muscle less fit?
Hey Tennis Fans:
I will be at the final regular season match for both teams, the UCLA
and USC Women, which takes place at the UCLA Tennis Center at
high noon this Saturday. Look for me in a long sleeve red shirt
and big hat sitting near the UCLA band who usually sit in front of the
Though UCLA is a bit higher in national ranking, my friend and head
coach for USC is retiring after 20 years so, his team will be trying to give
him a going away present.
One thing is for sure, if you’ve never seen a college tennis match,
you’ve never seen anything like this in the tennis industry. If you HAVE
seen a college match, this particular match is the most intense in Southern
California! You watch 3 doubles matches at one time, then 6 singles matches
at one time.
You will also learn a ton watching this match with my commentary.
The doubles matches start at noon so watch for the “I” formation!
Jonathan Bailin, PhD, USPTA
Tennis Coaching & Sport Science
Tennis, like most sports, is played from the ground up. Transmitting force, gracefully, and in balance is the key to accurate shot making results. In mechanical terms, “gracefully” means without discontinuities or what a coach would call “hitches” in the motion. Minimizing the motion’s unnecessary stops/starts is the major factor to its efficiency.
Balance gives the billions of eye/hand calculations the best chance of accuracy. That is why if an athlete is off balance, their performance must take on more conservative/defensive choices in shot selection.
The more often the player is connected solidly to the ground during ball contact, the more often that player can dictate play and remain on offense. Lack of balance usually, but not always, means the player is on defense.
Interestingly in this sport, hand skills, dexterity, and experience responding to the opponents position, can make up for a deficit in strength, mobility, and foot speed. Age can often triumph over youth for this reason. On and off the court, knowledge is power!
It’s not often that doubles is featured in pro tennis. Fed Cup and David Cup are the exceptions. Receiver signals, enhanced “I” formation, and first strike tennis are only the take home lessons. The intangibles, the home crowd and the enthusiasm of the worlds singles stars who have to show their doubles prowess, are the real draw for the tennis fan. The semi-finals this weekend were amazingly fun. Don’t miss the finals in December!
What makes this tennis blog different? As an Exercise Physiologist, Biomechanist, and Ergonomics Consultant, my students have learned to ask questions about human performance that most tennis coaches might not get, such as: Why isn’t the United States dominating the men’s and women’s tour anymore? Biomechanically, what makes Federer such a good model for […]
Physical prowess, agility, coordination, and strength have always been the main criteria in judging athletic ability. Most, if not all athletic training programs, have been designed with those criteria in mind, even though our body will only respond to what it can see. Despite this fact, little attention has been paid to vision, which is now the last frontier for those interested in improving their performance on and off the playing field.
This “last frontier” of sports, referred to as Sports Vision (SV), Developmental Optometry, Sports Vision Training (SVT), Vision Training (VT), or Orthoptics, starts with a special eye examination which includes Dynamic Visual Acuity measurements. Regular, “static” eye-exams and the use of corrective lenses are no substitute.
Some of the above name are based on what the training is targeted to do. A child who is improving the ability to track from line to line while reading is practicing Vision Training (VT). A person recovering from eye surgery, trauma, or an acute visual challenge might call this training Orthoptics. This note will focus on an athlete’s SVT.
By undertaking a simple visual training program, ANY athlete can improve performance. That’s because the eye, like the muscles in our bodies, can be strengthened to perform better with exercise. The principle to remember is that no vision skills are passed from our parents. That ALL visual skills are learned!
Q) Who is most known for the best eyes in tennis?
A) Andre Agassi
A list with links to other publications can be found at: USPTAPro.com