Banyana Banyana spent two days this week undergoing eye tests as part of preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which will be held in August this year.

Banyana Banyana spent two days this week undergoing eye tests as part of preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which will be held in August this year.

In between training at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto, the South African Senior Women’s National Team made time to go to the Doornfontein campus of the University of Johannesburg for the tests.

SAFA Media sat down with head coach Vera Pauw to get an update of the camp.

SAFA Media: How is camp going?

Vera Pauw: Camp is going very well. We are now into our 4th week of the programme in the New Year. We are taking it slowly now because if we go too fast the curve of improvement on fitness will go down in May/June whereas we want to take it to higher levels and reach our peak in August. That is all calculated and shows we are on the right track. We did our first tests not so long ago and the results are pleasing as they are showing that we did not drop too much after our camps in November and December.

Break on weekends, how crucial is that?

Breaks are very important because the players need to stay fresh. If you overload them then the fitness level goes down. They go home to see their families, but most importantly to rest. Fridays afternoon they go home, Saturday they do the recovery and I know many will ask if they really do it, I can confidently say yes they do because we can see when they come back. They on Sunday they rest completely and they are back in camp on Monday.

This week eye tests were conducted on players. Why was that?

We did this from a football perspective, meaning we tested the eyesight as to how they use it on the field; how they see the contrast, what their reaction time is based on what they see in front of them, how they see depth, can they see the ball coming quickly towards them, can they react quicker when the opponent is getting close? Hopefully the tests will help us to create a training programme to get the peripheral vision a bit wider. And those training sessions we will develop together with the University of Johannesburg. We are very curious about the results, but if there is nothing to fix we at least know and are happy about that.

So then what happens after the tests?

We are going to set up a training programme that will train the brain to have a wider view on the pitch. The training works better on the field.

You used this as a player yourself, so this is nothing new?

I have done sports test which was basic and not as advanced as this one. Mine confirmed that I did not see depth well enough so I got contact lenses. This helped me instantly to see the depth better. I was then able to deliver passes with some accuracy, something I could not do before. I was also winning aerial duels, which was not happening before. So this is a very critical exercise.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !