Visual Skills for Mountain Biking
Experts say that sports performance is directly related to visual skills. So by improving your visual skills, you’ll reap the reward in your performance. Sports vision training enhances the communication between the brain and the nine muscles of the eye to improve focus, reflexes, balance[, and] scanning ability.
When mountain biking, you need your eyes to quickly and efficiently convey information to your brain so it can make fast, accurate decisions to guide your body. Sports vision training can speed up your reflexes and increase your visual endurance and coordination.
Taking control of your vision can have a huge impact on the flow and speed of your riding. But becoming faster isn’t just about getting the technique right. It’s also about practice.
How Vision Works
To become a better mountain biker you need to have well-developed visual control. There are two types of vision that our eyes use to process information: ambient and focal. They work separately to deliver information from the eyes to the brain.
Ambient vision helps us move about in our environment and creates spatial awareness.
That’s central to mountain biking. Think about it. When biking on a rocky path you need to be aware of your surroundings, all while balancing on the bike at a fast pace. Your ambient vision helps you stay upright and to prevent collisions with objects in your surroundings.
Focal vision helps us see detail and recognize objects and colors.
Your focal vision focuses on the details of objects, then processes the information it sees. In mountain biking this translates to spotting and avoiding the sharpest rocks in your path. While you are actively focusing on the path, your ambient vision is still functioning, but it is not the dominant visual sense.
Sports Vision Training and Mountain Biking
Sports vision training can help improve your focal and ambient vision to improve your mountain biking skills. It works on improving:
- Balance: the ability to stay in control of your body
- Depth Perception: accurately and quickly judge the distance and speed of something
- Dynamic Visual Acuity: learning to see objects clearly while they’re in motion
- Focusing: changing focus from one object to another clearly and quickly
- Peripheral Awareness: the ability to see objects out of the corner of your eye
Improving these skills will improve your biking experience, enabling you to control how you react to what you see on the trail while maintaining speed. Knowing when you’re too close to the edge of a cliff, or the distance between you and a tree will also make you a safer biker.
Contact Dana Kinberg Optometry to learn more about sports vision training to improve your vision while you’re biking down that rocky trail.
Dana Kinberg Optometry serves patients from Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, and Clyde Hill, all throughout Washington.