Developing Peripheral Vision

Peripheral vision is an underrated skill in gaming. Peripheral vision is the part of our vision outside the centre of our gaze (essentially, where we are looking). Surprisingly, it compromises the majority of our vision.

ESports at the highest level requires players to be fully aware of their surroundings, so developing thisĀ is important for optimal performance.

In regular sports with multiple team mates/opponents, using your peripheral vision helps track their whereabouts at all times. That extra knowledge gives you the edge of your opponent, as they take longer to react and adapt to their surroundings. Such an advantage applies to eSports too.

Tunnel Vision in eSports

In First Person Shooters, Snipers/AWP players often develop tunnel vision, focusing just on the cross-heir while waiting for target when zooming in. They neglect their peripheral vision, which will inevitable slow down reactions when players come into view suddenly.

In games like Starcraft and League of Legends, you need to be able to track multiple pieces of information at once, such as using the mini map, team fights, cooldowns, skirmishes in multiple areas of the map. Peripheral Vision can be trained, developed and maintained like any other muscle in the body.

Toothpick and Straw Drill

We need to set up a central vision target first. This target can be anything you like, as long as it is easy to focus on. Place two cups near either end of your field of vision, and drop a straw in each cup.

While focusing on the central target, take a toothpick, and attempt to place it directly into one of the cups. After a while, switch to the target on the other side. Ensure that your remain focused on the central target throughout. To advance the exercise, try placing two toothpicks in both straws at the same time.

Thumb Grabbing

Sit down, with a partner behind you. Set up a central vision target again, and begin to focus on it.

Your partner will move their thumbs to the outer edge of your field of vision. When you can see their thumb, grab it immediately. Once you begin to discover where the borders of your peripheral vision are, you can start to challenge yourself by having the thumbs slightly further away. This encourages the you to visualise the thumbs in positions beyond where they can normally see them. The partner can try placing the thumbs at different heights and angles to further progress the exercise.

Tennis Ball Drills

Face a wall, roughly two feet away. Mark a spot on the wall, just above eye level to act as your central vision target. Throw the ball with your right hand, and catch it with your left hand. Do this for 30 seconds, then take a break. Alternate hands, ensuring your eyes remain on the central target.

To progress the exercise, have a partner stand behind you. They throw the ball instead, while you still have your eyes focused on the central target, only using your peripheral vision to catch the ball.

Online

There are multiple training games online to help train your peripheral vision.

25 boxes is a good start. You have to pinpoint the numbers location on a grid only using your periphal vision, as your eyes are focusing on the grid already filled. There are 20 levels, the first few were hard enough for me! http://www.mindjolt.com/25-boxes.html

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