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An archer's perspective on Myopia
#1
I feel David's method might be onto something. In hunting, such as archery, there is a well known addage -- "aim small, miss small". The idea is that you don't look at the animal, nor even the body part of that animal, when you're trying to hit the target. You don't aim for the heart area so much as you aim for the smallest tip of the hair that is in the center of the heart. I have experienced this, and I challenge you to try to improve your aim at some projectile task by looking at an ever smaller part of the target. Then, tell me -- does this improvement in ability not result from a temporary improvement in vision? Then, if we can see like that more regularly, does that not improve our myopic situation?

I don't know if this is the right way to do it, but I'm willing to be your guinea pig. I'm going to wear my glasses the minimum amount possible and try this interpretation of David's method. Maybe the correct term is not to "look" at the smallest part of the target, since this may cause psychological interference. You can't see the tip of the hair per se, it's kind of an imagination practice like that.

I'm starting at -4.75/-4.5, so let's see if I can get better.

In addition I'm going to try to look at distant objects more often and try to read things at the edge of my range of clarity, distance-wise. If something good happens, you'll see me again in the "success stories" thread.
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#2
Bates magazines say people living in the old days, primitive times had excellent vision. Relaxed, central-fixation. Sounds like your right on it! Keep posting about this, very interested.
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#3
There;s a sports psychologist, Bob Rotella, who talks about this same thing. When a professional golfer or basketball player is making a shot he is focusing on a very small target. If he diffuses his focus to the entire fairway rather than a specific spot, or to the general area of the basketball goal rather than a piece of the rim or net, then their focus is spread out and he is less likely to make an accurate shot.

Once, when Tiger Woods was playing along side Fred Funk, Fred asked Tiger what tiny strip of fairway he wanted him to hit the golf ball to. Tiger (who doesn't have the best driving accuracy) thought he was joking by how precise he was getting about this. But I think that's just it. The better you get, the more confidence you get to hit those smaller areas, the more you will shrink your target. And Fred Funk has one of the best driving accuracy's on tour.

Another golfer, I believe it was Ernie Else, said that when he is making a putt he doesn't look at the entire cup, he just looks for a blade of grass that;s on the inside of the cup to aim to.

So yeah, I think there is a link between these concepts and the concepts discussed in vision improvement. I feel as though I'm finding links between so many other things as well, that relate to vision improvement, that I have never heard of before. This vision improvement stuff is still so underground, it seems, that few people consider what effect the eyes have on the body/mind and vice-versa.
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#4
I remember when my cousins and I were young we would do target practice; throw rocks or dirt bombs at a telephone pole from the distance; I cant exactly remember but when I kept my eyes on the pole I would miss the shot. When I looked at the part I wanted to hit, then stopped looking at it and just threw I would make the hit. Got good with each hand, dexterity. Same thing with the slingshot; rock in a long piece of a strip of plastic lawn chair. Throw the rock at a thin tree very far away; I would look at the part, then release the vision and just thrown; like once I got the part centered I could let go and throw; I think after the arm and hand moved to the front of the body, right before releasing the rock the eyes would take another quick glance at that part of the tree.

I'll got back to Brookfield and practice this again as a adult, try to remember and try what you guys said here. See if it increases the hits out of 10.
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#5
Funny about Tiger Woods. I think I remember being a spokesman for a Lasik company.
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#6
What a great idea! Some athletes and athletic trainers know a lot of good stuff. They do what works.

Also see this thread about a top soccer player's eye movements.
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#7
Myopic chick Wrote:Funny about Tiger Woods. I think I remember being a spokesman for a Lasik company.

Yes, Tiger had laser surgery many years ago. He obviously overcame any negative effects it might have had on his ability to focus his mind on small areas. But look what happened after his sexcapades came out. His game fell to an all time low. His mental focus was obviously very impacted.

I played BB (and golf) for over 30 years, and honestly cannot ever remember thinking of a small area of the net, or rim. At least not deliberately. Maybe it was unconscious. Basketball is a game of split seconds, there's just little time to think. When on a hot shooting streak, you're just feeling it, not thinking about anything with regard to how you're shooting. Letting it fly. If you start thinking, it can quickly ruin a fluid motion. You develop almost a sixth sense of where you are in relation to the basket, and hardly need to look at it except at the last fraction of a second.

Golf is a whole different story - I agree that you have to think small, and have a lot more time to plan your shots. It's a game that can really get into your head - you have to learn to ignore that big pond in front of the green, or those treacherous woods tight up against the left side of the fairway. When I learned to relax and not think about so many things, my game finally improved.


Mary - do you mean Brookfield MA?

Andrew
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#8
Yes! The basketball thing is alot like the rock throwing; the more we not try to see the spot to hit, more times hit the target.
Bates says central fixation but I agree with arocarty on this post. I think the brain stores those central fixation places, actions the body needs to perform to hit the target from every angle, movement, situation...

As older kids we started playing basketball and I remember each of use taking 5 shots competition.
Then Charlie Chick kept missing, got mad and swore XXXXXing ball! and threw it from across the court without looking, just shoved it in anger. He got it in the basket! Then it became a joke and we all started swearing and throwing the ball like we were angry (but really joking) just fling it at the basket and we got the ball in more than when standing closer and trying.

I remember those days were fun. Now I am brunt out too often trying to get work done, cramming things into the day and barely get out for just plain ol goofing around. Unless taking few days off fishing on boat with 30 pack Coors. Next time will bring rocks for skimming on the river.
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#9
Quote:I played BB (and golf) for over 30 years, and honestly cannot ever remember thinking of a small area of the net, or rim. At least not deliberately.

I think it's more related to the idea that "you move towards what you think about." You aren't just seeing the image in your mind when aiming for that spot on the green or that basket, you are somehow focused intently on your goal. Your attention is absorbed in your goal, rather than dispersed around. I think this is probably what Bob Rotella means in his book,. but he doesn't really go into too much specifics about what focusing on a small target is like. So I think this goes along with what you are saying Arocarty.

Going back to your water-right-in-front-of-the-green example.You will perform much better if you focus on what you want rather than what you want to avoid. So when you are focusing on what you want (getting close to the pin) then your mind isn't even considering the water in front of the green. Now....you can't just repeat in your head "I want to hit the pin, I want to get close to the pin." It's not something that's really done in words, and I don't think it's totally a visual thing either. It's more of....your whole entire being and consciousness are gearing your whole body to work in unison to perform this task which you want to accomplish.
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#10
clarknight Wrote:Yes! The basketball thing is alot like the rock throwing; the more we not try to see the spot to hit, more times hit the target.
Bates says central fixation but I agree with arocarty on this post. I think the brain stores those central fixation places, actions the body needs to perform to hit the target from every angle, movement, situation...

As older kids we started playing basketball and I remember each of use taking 5 shots competition.
Then Charlie Chick kept missing, got mad and swore XXXXXing ball! and threw it from across the court without looking, just shoved it in anger. He got it in the basket! Then it became a joke and we all started swearing and throwing the ball like we were angry (but really joking) just fling it at the basket and we got the ball in more than when standing closer and trying.

I remember those days were fun.

OMG, I've really been a bit blind! Good old Charlie -
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#11
Great responses, everyone. Speaking of intersections, here are some more.

Whenever I complain about my vision to them, the Mongols and Tuvans (who tend to have great vision since they use distance vision for herding animals) tell me that I can improve my vision. They tell me that old bit about looking a lot at the very tip of the most distant mountain. It's traditional cultural knowledge, but I think it's getting at the same thing as projectile aiming -- rather than seeing the whole distant mountain, you look at the smallest possible target on it, the peak. It was largely thanks to them and anthropology that I seriously began to doubt the optometry institution. I'm beginning to think that in the urban environment, distant corners are a great place to look.

I also learned that when people read, they usually look at the bottom of the words, which are much more easily interpreted. So if you're going to look at smaller parts of letters when reading, I suggest looking at something towards the bottom of the words.

The most important thing I've come to believe is that our problem is a lifestyle problem, and that the best way to fix the problem is to intentionally make permanent lifestyle changes in how we see. Not just experimenting, but intending to see a different way for the rest of your life -- and that's how to keep progressing, as well as to avoid backsliding.

I went to the optometrist to get a baseline -- and now they tell me I'm at -5 diopters. It felt horrible, and then they told me that some of the employees there had -10.

I was wondering, maybe there's a way to make a game out of this vision thing? The best way to make exercise a habit is to make it fun and desirable...
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#12
loveless Wrote:They tell me that old bit about looking a lot at the very tip of the most distant mountain. It's traditional cultural knowledge, but I think it's getting at the same thing as projectile aiming -- rather than seeing the whole distant mountain, you look at the smallest possible target on it, the peak. It was largely thanks to them and anthropology that I seriously began to doubt the optometry institution. I'm beginning to think that in the urban environment, distant corners are a great place to look.

Hi loveless,
Current research supports the notion that sharp corners appear more 'visually salient' to our visual system. That is, they evoke a stronger response from the visual centers of the brain, whereas shallow corners evoke weaker responses. In vision improvement, the stronger a response we can evoke from our visual percepts, the better chance we have at getting the system to focus. The peak of a mountain stands out as one type of sharp angle. Notice the sharp angles around you wherever you are, see if they help bring about better visual acuity.

Don't worry much about the optometrist's test. Only you can measure your level of success with practicing Bates.
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#13
When Meir Schneider was coming back from "blindness" (I remember his first prescription was something like -44!) he practiced seeing windows and air conditioners on buildings, wanting the corners to stimulate his visual centers and wake them up, probably for this same reason. I like the concept of "visually salient" -- thanks, arocarty.
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#14
The mountaintop thing sounds believable. It's a small point of contrast that's easy to fixate on, and it's easy to point out when telling someone to do it. As arocarty said, other corners could work just as well. And anything small you can locate that has enough contrast for you to not lose is enough. The distance away isn't critical, in my opinion. The important thing is there's no need to try to see the most blurry or indistinct details. You just find a detail nearby that's distinct enough, and your visual system can orient itself on that.
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"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#15
Hello everyone.

I'm back. What I've found now is that the most important thing about our effort is to have your heart in it. The tension often happens when we feel forced to try to improve, or if we're somehow reluctant. I think that's what happened to Tiger.

I had a summer hiking a few months in Brazil, trying to focus on distant objects only possible in the outdoors. Now that I'm back in urban concrete boxes I feel physically uncomfortable focusing on things up close. So now my heart is more behind focusing in on the sharp points, and my eyes feel like they want to because the broad field vision feels gross.

I got deterred in my practice many times, but I'm still on it. Please keep up your efforts, too.
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