DAVIE — When a Miami Dolphins receiver makes a spectacular catch in a practice or a game, the running joke, which really isn’t a joke at all, would be clearly heard if the player was wearing a microphone.
“EyeGym!” the receiver will shout.
“EyeGym!” his celebrating teammate will shout back.
After Kenny Stills made arguably the best catch of his NFL career, a circus-performer feat of impeccable eye-hand coordination, he was discussing it in the Dolphins locker room.
“Just the Man Upstairs and a little bit of the EyeGym stuff that I’ve been doing,” Stills said after juggling and securing the 36-yarder, while on his back, against the New York Jets on Oct. 22.
About 10 minutes a day, Stills utilizes an online web program called “EyeGym,” which, according to the founder, Dr. Sherylle Calder, is a visual intelligence training that unlocks a person’s potential to make faster and smarter decisions.
According to EyeGym, completing the eye exercises improves concentration, attention to detail, memory, response time, coordination and spatial awareness. The players say Dolphins director of sports performance Wayne Diesel encouraged them to try the program.
“The basic concept behind it is that we train everything in our body but we never really train our eyes,” Stills said Thursday. “I feel like it’s really beneficial. I love it. We do exercises 10 minutes a day and it really helps you focus and helps you track the ball and your reaction times. Or distraction drills. There are all different types of exercises you can do for your eyes that will help you on the field. Help you catch balls. Help you recognize coverage. Help your memory. They’ve got cricket players, race car drivers, football players, rugby players, all sports, participating.”
Stills led the Dolphins with nine receiving touchdowns last season and was rewarded with a four-year, $32-million deal.
According to statistics recorded at FoxSports.com, Stills has only four drops in his last 124 pass targets.
Players described what they see when then put in the extra time on the computer, either at the Dolphins practice facility, or at home.
“Multiple shapes moving around the screen fast and you have to pay attention to this one particular shapes and count as many times as it changes,” Miami receiver/returner Jakeem Grant said. “And it changes about 30 times. And you have to track it and count, track it and count. So basically you have to concentrate on that and follow it from every side of the screen, wherever it goes. And you have to be really focused in on that. And I feel like it’s just like watching a punt, watching it come through the lights. Not being distracted on the defenders coming down on you. Catching the punt and looking it all the way in.”
Grant, who has returned 13 punts and six kickoffs with no lost fumbles this season, says the program works.
“It helps a lot with me back there returning punts,” Grant said. “As you can see I’ve been doing a good job of it. And I’ve been sticking to the EyeGym. I feel it has helped me track the ball through the lights. Track the ball through the sun.”
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