Vision in rugby

Vision in rugby helps you absorb and use large amounts of detailed information such as player positioning, capabilities and movements. Have vision, show the way.


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Difference between seeing and vision

What is good vision

Why you want "vision"

How you develop vision

Evasion and vision

Is vision affected by skill


Difference between seeing and vision

We avoid information overload by filtering out or deleting large amounts of the information our senses detect.

You see and recognise a chair. To sit on it or avoid bumping into it that`s all we need to know. You don`t bother with the details.

In rugby, a good ability to see would mean you cope well with the game. You see the ball and players well. You`re good at it.

When you have vision in rugby, in most situations during a game, you absorb more detail and still deal well with the flood of information.

You do this well when you are very interested and/or experienced in what you are looking at.

Think of the chair again, If you are a chair manufacturer or collector you would almost certainly notice far more detail.

You may see the type of legs, minute details of the upholstery, joints, materials, finish and style.

In rugby it`s similar but perhaps not as easy. There are so many players, so much movement, so many options, so much space.

You notice detail in such a chaotic, fluid environment because of your great interest and experience.

You could do this little experiment as you walk along a crowded pavement.

Attempt to take in detail about every person walking towards you.

Most of that information was entering your eyes anyway. Now perhaps you are very aware of what you do with it.

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What is good vision in rugby

I suggest you are a player with "vision" when you have special ability and experience. You notice the details other players delete or filter out. You absorb more relevant detail means you have more vision in rugby.

Some reasons players filter out or delete information

  • perhaps they do not gather enough experience to know the information is important
  • perhaps they are so overwhelmed by the amount of information coming in and just cannot cope with more

  • perhaps they lack the experience to scan well or are easily distracted so their eyes ar jumping all over the pitch
  • perhaps skills ar not instinctive yet, they concentrate on the ball just that bit too much and don`t see the looming tackler

Some important details the players with vision in rugby may notice

  • the position of all players on the field - where they are, where they are going, how quickly or slowly the are getting there
  • the patterns those players form and what they mean in terms of strengths and weaknesses in attack and defence

  • the physical state of players - limping, nursing injuries, sluggishness, changes of pace, changes of angle, inattention
  • execution of skills - has that kick been sliced, is it a poor pass

Rugby is a game of inches.

Knowing a kick has been sliced as soon as it comes off the boot can give you just the advantage you need to get to it first.

Knowing an opponent has changed pace may allow you to be a few inches closer and make the tackle.

All those inches add up!

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Why you want "vision" in rugby

You have vision in rugby and you are the person with the most useful information. You have the ability to make the best decisions.

You take in all the extra, fine details. By taking in the angles of their limbs and bodies you know if they are turning. Not only are you able to see where everyone is, you know where everyone is going.

Because you are so well trained you go round the loop of scanning the field and processing the information very rapidly you have the most up-to-date information.

You take in the rate of change of position and pace. It means you make accurate predictions about how the game will unfold.

You see patterns everywhere. You detect gaps, over-defended areas and under-defended areas.

You easily see limping players. You see players holding their arms differently because of pain. You see the players getting up off the ground slowly.

You have huge advantages in recognising patterns of player behaviour and compare patterns with those you`ve stored away in your head.

You make realistic predictions about how the game will proceed

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How you develop vision in rugby

My meaning of vision in rugby is your outstanding ability when you take in the whole scene in a flash and make sense of it.

You notice details others don`t notice which means you have a huge advantage when you make decisions.

You may benefit from hobbies or pass-times that make it necessary to use your eyes intensively and manipulate the images you create in your head.

Youngsters have hobbies. I collected cigarette packets, match boxes, (there was much more litter in those days!) pennies and half-pennies. I was also a car fanatic.

Imagine what I was like as I walked the streets! Maybe you know from experience. Your eyes take in vast amounts of information.

You exercise your brain and build experience as you learn to process visual cues.

You will find you extract more meaning from what you see.

When you are a collector you don`t want two of the same. If you see an item of interest some distance away you

  • take in details of the colour/shape/size of the (perhaps partly obscured) item, seen from an unusual angle
  • put the details together in your mind to form an image

  • compare the image to the collection of hundreds of others held in your brain to decide if it is new to your collection
  • you may even consider loads more informtion so you can decide if this new item is actually better quality and should replace your existing example

When you are very interested in cars you study them in great detail because you want to. There are usually loads of them about. Standing still, slowing down, speeding up, flashing by.

Some are partly hidden so you have only part of the information you need. They all have badges, guages, curves, words on them, different sizes and shapes of familiar features. Different configurations, sizes and shapes of lights, wheels, tyres, extra-special accessories.

Just imagine the amount of vision training you do when you are a collector or have a special interest that requires eager viewing of unfamiliar objects.

Compare that to someone who goes everywhere listening to music through earphones. Will their eyes and brain be as well trained to spot the player dispositions and minute details of human movement that you are aware of on the rugby field?

Find out more about how we actually see. It`s another way to develop vision in rugby.

Many many years ago I read the book Gestalt Therapy Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality by Perls, Hefferline, Goodman.

I learned a lot at that time. It may be old hat now, or maybe not. I bought a second hand copy recently for a few dollars so it`s still around.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) may help. I find it fascinating. I have learnt much that is relevant to vision and to rugby in general. You may also find it useful.

More recently I have become interested in the OODA loop.

What I have been able to find out about it fits well with my experience and my approach to playing rugby.

You may well benefit when you look into it.

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Evasion and vision in rugby

You may know of the picture you see in either of two ways.

Search the internet for "picture of old hag or beautiful young woman".

You should be guided to a picture.

When you look at it you will see one of two images - a young woman or an old hag.

It may take some practice to see both images (one at a time) but keep at it (maybe blink, soften, de-focus), they are both there.

This is very important when you play rugby. People often say the reason there are so few line breaks in modern rugby is because the defence is so good there are no gaps.

That is true to a degree but it is also related to the vision of the attacking players. Looking at the hag/beauty picture most see one version, a few see the other. It`s similar in rugby - most see two defenders, a few see the gap (between two players).

I`m not sure it`s been explained yet. Do you see what you most expect to see? Does what you see depend on whether you are optimistic or pessimistic? It doesn`t really matter. If you are one of those players who sees the gaps and has the ability to go through them ( use EvtecHs evasion!) you will stand out from the crowd.

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Is vision affected by skill

Your vision may be affected by the other skills you possess.

When I played football (soccer) I was a mid-field dynamo (well that`s how I remember it!), better at defending than attacking. Better at tackling than shooting

On the rare occasions I lined up shots at goal I found it very small, almost blotted out by the enormous goal-keeper!

The reverse was true for me in rugby.

With good attacking skills you usually see the opportunities rather than the defenders.

Make sure it`s the same for you in rugby. Expand your vision so you are the player who can take advantage and you are well on your way.

You see more gaps when you have the skill to get through them!

Great skills? Great vision? - you`re a great player.

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