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NFL Combine: Vision Training and Psychological Testing

It's been called “The World's Toughest Job Interview.” For six days at the NFL Combine (Feb. 24-March 2), college football's best will be measured, interviewed, tested, watched and analyzed by countless NFL coaches, general managers and scouts conducting all of their due diligence before the NFL Draft. To prepare, nearly two dozen prospects have traveled to IMG Academy for six-plus weeks of Physical, Mental, Communication, Nutrition, Vision and psychological testing with Athletic & Personal Development program specialists.

While the athletes currently train at the Athletic & Personal Development program (IPI), they receive training in a number of different areas that we feel are of equal importance. During yesterday afternoon, all of those training for the NFL Combine went through an hour and a half session on various activities and drills to develop their vision, then sat down for some practice on the psychological testing they may encounter.

Derrick Addai takes on the Dynavision board

While some of the vision activities look like they could double as carnival games, there is no dispute that these training methods can be quite beneficial towards improving the eyesight of the players. Lead by David DaSilva, the vision training discipline at IMG Academy Athletic & Personal Development programsis focused on strengthening the muscles of the eyes, those muscles' endurance, improve depth perception, and also improve the communication between the eyes and brain. During vision training, David not only give their eyes a workout, but using models of the eye, teaches them about what parts of the eye they are training and how it will relate to their performance on the football field.

All of the drills are timed and results are recorded in order to track each player's progress. Some of the activities include:

Rotary Pursuit - The athletes view a rotating board with large and small letters while trying to pinpoint certain letters using a laser pen.

Tachistoscope - A PowerPoint has various slides that flash numbers for fractions of second while the players write down the numbers they thought they saw.

Dynavision Board - The athletes stand approximately a foot away from a board and stare at the center of it while random buttons light up. They must use their peripherals to hit the buttons before the light goes out and relocates.

Flippers - The players use double sided glasses with different powered lenses that are flipped back and forth while reading a sequence of letters.

Not surprisingly, the vision training ultimately always turns into a competition between the athletes trying to top the others' score. Once the session concludes, and the eye soreness declines, the players are then taken by Dr. Angus Mugford to work on testing portions of becoming an NFL'er .

Measuring the intelligence and decision making skills is key to NFL Coaches and GM's. Tests at the NFL Combine like the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability test and other psychological profiles assess how well players do off the field just as much as on the field. Helping players understand the importance of this and building their confidence and ability to know what to expect is all part of the 360 degree approach the Athletic & Personal Development program!

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