New athletic training sets sight on edging out opponents

Click to play video: 'Keep your eye on the puck: How vision training is changing the game for Calgary athletes' Keep your eye on the puck: How vision training is changing the game for Calgary athletes
WATCH ABOVE: Athletes are known for some unusual pre-game routines, but in this case, there's a method to the madness. For many players, the most overlooked tool is the eyes. Cami Kepke has more on the unique training Calgary athletes go through. – Sep 17, 2020

A Calgary doctor has been focusing on training athletes in an area often overlooked and underestimated when it comes to its role in sports.

Dr. Christopher Woo worked with hockey players, golfers and baseball players to strengthen their eyes to help improve overall hand-eye coordination.

Tri-City Americans goaltender Talyn Boyko has been working with Woo and while the training isn’t conventional, Boyko is used to it.

Read more: Coronavirus: WHL planning to start next season Dec. 4

“Being a goalie, I’ve always done a lot of weird hand-eye stuff,” Boyko explained. “So it wasn’t too weird for me.”

Woo said that eyesight can be crucial when it comes to athletes’ ability to react appropriately and quickly when playing sports.

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“The eye is an incredible tool… a lot of people don’t understand how important it is,” said Woo. “Your eyes function for depth perception, peripheral vision, decision making and reaction time.”

For example, in one exercise, Woo had hockey goalies wear sunglasses that hinder their eyesight, making it more difficult to see the oncoming puck.

“Having them see less, can they still complete the task? So, it’s like fill-in-the-dots at a higher level. And through this we can actually improve the reaction time, and basically brain and eye and muscle memory.”

Boyko said he’s already started to see an improvement since he began working with Woo last year.

“I’ve just noticed such a big change in my ability to track the puck and read plays and see pucks through screens,” explained Boyko.

He’s managed to shave down his goals-against average and increase his save percentage since playing in the WHL.

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