Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Brother - Optometrist - to Athletes

So I have mentioned my brother Taylor in past postings.  Usually in reference our exploits as youngsters.  We’re both Dodger nuts.  Our phone conversations start with the pleasantries, asking about the family, health, job and then we move on to...Dodger talk.
Well I took a trip to his optometry office in Diamond Bar on Friday so my wife and I could get our eyes checked and tighten up an arm on my reading glasses.  He then showed me the latest in sports optometry technology.
Taylor, (hereafter referred to as Dr. Bladh) is one of five optometrists in Southern California that are part of a pilot program sponsored by Nike in which athletes are evaluated and trained.  The intent of the program is to assist athletes in numerous areas to visually pick up an object and react to it.  It is really the latest and most advanced technology that they have and he went over the whole program with me.  I took a bunch of notes, that I now can’t find.  Let me just say, it’s real complicated and very cool.  The cutting edge of visual technology for athletes.
Nike Campus, Beaverton, Oregon

Dr. Bladh went to the Nike Campus in Beaverton, Oregon and was trained in the SPARQ program.  SPARQ stands for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction, Quickness.  He is one of three optometrists in the region that has the SPARQ Sensory station equipment at his office (pictured below) for athletes and at the present several of his clients are high school and college athletes in baseball, volleyball, field hockey, water polo, football, golf, soccer, tennis, basketball that are attempting to maximize their athletic vision and reaction time.  

The Nike SPARQ Visual Sensory training is something that is really catching on.  Think about it,  if a baseball player is able to improve their reaction time to a fastball, or visual recognition the type of pitch being thrown by just a slight percentage, it could make a big difference in performance. I seriously wish Matt Kemp would get tested so that he can recognize that low and away junk that he’s always swinging at.  

Dr. Bladh mentioned to me that back in the 1920s, Babe Ruth was tested at Columbia University where it was determined that he tested off the scale compared to the average person in the areas of motor skills, balance, sight and hearing.  They concluded that the reason he performed at such a high level compared to his peers was that he could get fooled but would make up for it with raw talent, (Link:   http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Fullerton/  ).  The Nike testing is aimed at improving an athletes sensory skills.

During his quick presentation to me, he showed that they measure an athlete’s vision score in ten criteria.  I didn’t capture them all but some are:  Visual Clarity, Depth Perception, Near-Far Quickness, Target Capture, Visual Endurance, Perception Span, Hand Reaction Time, Response Time, Hand-Eye Coordination, and some others that I missed.  Each athlete is scored and can then compare their score to other athletes in their sport.  Where an athlete needs to improve, there are various exercises and drills that they can complete to improve their score week by week.  The ultimate goal of SPARQ is to maximize an athletes visual senses.
Here is a video that explains it better than I can.

If any of you are interested in this Nike SPARQ training program for themselves or their kids, you can reach Dr. Bladh's Diamond Bar office at (909) 861-3737

Alright, so I plugged my brothers business.  He never asked me to do it.  I just think it is interesting and being sports related, was appropriate in this forum.   I should also mention that Taylor has a sports paraphernalia and card collection that puts mine to shame.  Part of it is mounted on the walls of his Diamond Bar office.  You should check it out and criticize him for having too much S.F. Giants stuff. 


  1. I agree about the Giants stuff in his office.

  2. Amen Josh, the only time black and orange looks good is when the orange is a flame that is burning that junk.

  3. Very nice blog....you provide great information thank you so much Optometrist Kitchener