While esports may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of sports which vision training can help, esports is perfectly positioned to benefit from it. As a broader sport (with multiple different video games enjoying competitive scenes) a commonality between them is that the ability to react quickly, and maintain awareness of what’s going on in-game, is paramount.
Sports vision training is customized training that gives athletes a major edge against the competition by improving the specific visual skills needed for the position and sport that they play. Most of the visual skills that are essential to becoming a top level competitor are trainable through sports vision training. Sports vision training is the optometric science of using neuroplasticity to enhance visual skills and abilities.
While there are a number of vision skills that are important for esports competitors, some are more crucial to performance than others.
Core vision skills for esports competitors include:
Hand-Eye Coordination: An obvious skill vital to many esports, hand-eye coordination enables a player to better and more quickly react to visual input. In esports, improving this skill gives players a better ability to rapidly react to changes in the game and land that key shot.
Tracking: Tracking is the ability to effectively follow a moving object while also remaining aware of other things going on around it. So in a video game, this would be keeping track of an object or enemy amid the fast-paced game.
Convergence: Convergence is the ability of the eyes to turn inward (toward each other) to focus on a single near object. In esports matches, increased ability to quickly focus both eyes on an object can be vital to making sure a player can effectively follow the flow of play, especially when an object, such as an enemy played, suddenly appears.
Divergence: The opposite of convergence, divergence is the ability of the eyes to turn away from each other to locate far objects and track their approach. In esports matches, this helps players track enemy players that may be approaching from a distance at the edge of their field of view.
Secondary visual skills for esports competitors aren’t necessarily any less important than core visual skills, though they are not quite as central to what is needed for an esports competitor to be successful.
Visual Memory: Visual memory is the vision skill which helps people remember details. For esports players, this is a valuable skill which can help them better remember the ins and outs of different game maps, so that they can more effectively strategize.
Contrast Sensitivity: Different maps in some competitive video games can have very different color schemes and lighting, which can make it harder, at times, to pick out an approaching enemy or objective. Improving one’s contrast sensitivity, the ability to more quickly track and identify objects, can provide crucial extra seconds in which to react.
Peripheral Vision: A skillful shooter can maintain awareness of a central target while simultaneously maintaining an awareness of a wide range of peripheral targets. For example, when selecting a sniping position in E-Sports, one should also be aware of what is going on around the central point of focus.
Speed of recognition time: This is especially important in first person shooters when a target may only be visible for a short period of time. In order to decide whether to shoot or not shoot a target, an accurate recognition of as much of a target in as little as 0.01 seconds is critical.