Elite Sports and Vision Ajay Kumar Bhootra, Sumitra
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SportsChapter 1

Play is an essential part in the emotional and physical development of a child and encourages motor skills such as climbing, walking, jumping, throwing and catching and facilitates both eyes, hand-eye, eye-foot coordination. When the play begins to incorporate rules, it becomes a game leading to sports with both individual and team participation. The word sport is a contracted form of “disport” which means to amuse, to divert one's self. It signifies recreations that is contrasted with the serious intellectual occupations.
Sport can be defined as a physical activity involving large muscle groups, requiring strategic methods, physical training and mental preparation and whose outcome is determined, within a rule frame work, and by skill, not by chance. Sport occurs in an organized, structural and competitive environment where winner is declared. Football is a team sport, involves mental preparation to pass the ball to each other to achieve the target. Lots of physical activity and physical training with strategic plan which are governed by set rules is needed to win the competition.
Sport is a human activity requiring physical exertion and or physical skill with competitive spirit in order to achieve a result. So sport, by definition, is competitive and there are two or more players, there must be a winner and a loser or a draw and that may, in turn need to be settled by a penalty shoot-out or similar. Motivation is probably the strongest incentive and the concept of “win at all costs” is often initiated. The incentive to win may vary from personal satisfaction, team spirit or national fervour to the high monetary awards accorded to professional sports personnel. The most significant factor, however, in the winning formula is skill, which is partially innate and partially acquired, and may, therefore, be optimized by coaching and training. Aptitude, in turn, is influenced by physique. In general, shorter athletes are more suited to events like Gymnastics, Soccer and Long distance running, tall individuals predominate in High Jumping and Basketball, while the heavyweights are more likely to be attracted to combat sports, throwing and defensive position in rugby.
Both the above definitions clearly indicate the passion and competitive instinct involved in the sport. It may , therefore, be that sport is simply, where there is a competition. The competitive element is a good discriminator. It could be argued that this even includes competition against oneself also. It is very difficult to find any other dividing line which separates one physical activity from another.2
Sport can be roughly divided into the areas of amateur, professional and international sports. The distinction between a professional and amateur athlete is somewhat tenuous. An athlete may be defined as an amateur by an organization; he or she may not be an amateur according to another. This leads to even more confusion. A simplistic, yet useful definition is that amateur athletes are involved in sports as an avocation while professional athletes are involved in sports as a vocation. The concept of amateur sports includes a range of activities from an individual casual weekend athlete to high school athletics to extensively organized intercollegiate or international competitions. Athletic activities are often organized and managed by individual groups that establish rules for eligibility and competition. Perhaps the most important relationship in the area of professional sports is that between the individual player and the team owner. The contractual relationship is governed by basic contract principles. The model contract can be modified to accommodate the special needs and the talent of individual players. International sports competitions are mainly Olympic and World Cup, sponsored by FIFA.
Dynamic sports
Non-dynamic sports
Sports can be Dynamic and Non Dynamic or Controlled. Dynamic sports are the events where the athlete is relatively uninhibited in the explosive expression of their effort. This does not mean that control is not required, it is just that the explosive elements of the event predominates and is critical measure of the difference between the performance of the two athletes. Typical examples are 100 m running, Hammer throwing, Soccer, Yachting, Squash, Hockey etc. In control sports the action of the event is normally repetitive and may well continue over many hours. The athlete who is able to maintain a consistency of performance through out the event is usually the one who wins. The skill in the great control sport is not just hitting the bulls eye once, or hitting the gold in archery once, but its consistency over a day shooting. The key skill is physiological control against all the elements of metabolism that tend to detract from this control including muscle fatigue, dehydration, blood sugar level, and mental fatigue. Again, it can be seen that no one sport is easier or better than other, what water sport may lack in speed and explosion—it makes up for in microscopic control and endurance. Other examples of controlled sports are Archery, Bowling, Shooting, Darts, Snooker, 3Chess. One extreme example of the mental extremes to which some athlete go in sport , is chess. In many ways, it appears to be static, but the player is in fact in great dynamic equilibrium. A body held in a controlled position where the eyes co-ordinate precisely at places on the chess board, and the mind is feeding back a complicated image of spatial awareness and position. What the sport lacks in dynamism, it more than makes up for mental effort and is in no way less competitive. Fast moving sports are usually into the dynamic category. This classification is based on the concept to allow the sport to be considered more precisely in terms of hazards and the speed at which it is played. In reality, sports are generally a mixture of the two in varying proportions. The consideration for visual correction changes as the balance in sports shifts from the dynamic to non dynamic, from physical to cerebral. In sports like Ice-Hockey and Tennis, things happen very quickly and there is a great risk of trauma. In Chess there is very little movement and a lot of thought, so less risk of eye injuries. The intensity of competition in both these sports, however, should not be underestimated.
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Figure 1.1: Squash-dynamic sport
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Figure 1.2: Snooker-non-dynamic sport
Different sports demand different visual skills and present new challenges under varying conditions. However, the basic vision requirements of every individual sports are made up of two primary visual skills - aiming and anticipation and the proportion of these skills vary according to different sports. Accordingly sports may also be classified as Aiming sports and Anticipating sport. It is also likely that depending on the individual visual characteristics of the athlete, that they will be pre-disposed to some sports more than others. Tennis is not predominantly an aiming sport. Depth perception which allows the player to anticipate the arrival of the ball by judging its speed and direction is more important. It does not mean that the aiming is not vital, it is also needed when the racket is directly in line with the aiming eye and also during a serve. Clay shooting is predominantly associated with high aiming demand where distance of the object also need to be seen accurately to judge the relative speed of the clay through the air. The affect of aiming is not just 4peculiar to sport. The only thing which distinguishes sport from any other occupation is the level of the visual demand, which is at its most extreme in competitive sport.
Sport is also an occupation like many others. It has its own visual requirements. Sporting potential is nothing more than occupational potential. Occupation involves how human beings relate to their environment—this may have specific requirements at work or in sport or have general requirements in terms of navigating your way through the world, or interacting with the human beings or even learning to read and write. All the interaction can be summarized as behaviour. The words “sporting potential”, “occupational potential” and “behaviour” in this sense are interchangeable. Today more than 60% population plays sport, depending on the available resources and this number is increasing because of more money involved in it and also because of people have more time and more money to spend on it. One of the biggest causes of hospital admission for serious eye injury is now sports, which reflects its increase in popularity.
Today it is a established fact that sport has become a physiological necessity. The reality in sports as in life is that there can be no winner without losers. The champion sits on top of a huge pyramid at the base of which all the spectators who attend, and works up through the people who built the tracks and financed the project, to the coaches who trained the athlete and the clubs and officials who supported them, right up to the person who came second or third. Winning has no meaning unless someone else loses. To win one day, probably means to lose another day, and in the end every competitive athlete knows that they must eventually lose. To say that nothing else matters but the win, makes no sense. Nothing else is possible without all the other people who support the event and who are prepared to lose by competing In life this is also true, we all depend on one another, one person on another , and one nation on another. Competitive sport is a way for individuals and nations to co-exist. It is a civilized way of replacing war and the rules of the sport are the marks of civilization.
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Figure 1.3: A winner
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Figure 1.4: Winning has no meaning unless someone else loses
Sports, if well conducted, have always raised the standard of nation to a very high degree. “A sound mind in a sound body”– can be thought of through the sports. Athletics refresh the body, tranquilize and enlighten the mind, and develop moral character. The student who is involved in sports is always fresh and vigorous, he seldom gets sick and tired. When he is busy with athletics during recess time his ideas do not deviate any more to the path of impurity, to think of such trivial things and health and strength which he acquires will help him in overcoming such temptations. Generally, a healthy person is endowed with a will stronger than that of a weak person.
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Figure 1.5: Sports-mark of civilizations and harmony among different nations
The media are now promoting sport in an unprecedented manner and interest has increased enormously. Participation in sport is widely accepted as a beneficial, convenient and popular means of exercise and improved fitness. The boom in sports has been catalyzed by the increase in school and community involvement, such as coaching schemes at local centres, and by increase in leisure time and healthy life expectancy, which means sports 6participation increasingly extends into and beyond middle age. While sports participation has undoubted advantages, such as improved physical fitness, cardiovascular performance, strength, speed , response and reaction times, these have to be traded off against possible adverse effects. The latter may include penalties in terms of time, money and competitive stress which may result from performing poorly, but more seriously there is the risk of injury. Hooliganism, professional fouls, gouging in rugby, elbow injury in soccer, assault, bribery, drug abuse, racism and political boycotts are also unwanted byproducts of today's sports. This is the malaise within society and is definitely a travesty of the sporting ideal.
To conclude we may say that sport, recreation and play are the fun way to learn values and lessons that will last a life time. Sports promote friendship and fair play. Sports teach team work, discipline, respect, and the patience, skills necessary to ensure that children develop into caring individuals. Sports prepare young people to meet challenges they will face and to take leadership roles within their communities. In fact, sport teaches us humility in victory, a genuine recognition of talent in others and that ultimately we all depend on one another.