Apparently it’s not just me finding difficulty in focus and perception after an hour of reading the little screen. According to Dr. Sherylle Calder, Vision Coach to the English Rugby Team,
“In the modern world, the ability of players to have good awareness is deteriorating by the nature of mobile phones,” said Calder, who, at Jones’s request, will initially work only with England’s back-line players. “It is definitely so. We have seen in the last five or six years, when we assess elite players in different sports, that there is a decline in skill levels.
“When you look at your phone, you are losing awareness, because you’re in here [the screen] all the time. There are no eye movements happening. Everything is pretty static. We are losing the ability to communicate well and all those skills are declining. Yes, definitely, we will make recommendations about how long they should be on their phones.”
Which is bad news for the youth of today, immersed as they are in the matrix of Pokemon and social media. Dr. Calder goes on:
“There are principles that we want them to follow. We develop skills by climbing trees, walking on walls and falling off and learning all those visual motor skills, which people aren’t doing any more. Young kids spend a lot of time on mobile phones, so those instinctive natural skills are disappearing. If you don’t see something, you can’t make a decision.
“We can improve every player. We’ve got until the World Cup. Different players improve at different levels but we can make the good ones better as well. As soon as they feel the difference they know it makes a difference and you can feel it pretty quickly. They will feel it in time for the Six Nations.”
The Six Nations being the rugby union championship between Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, France, and Italy, none of whom save England has won a world tournament recently. The Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, and Argentinians have all stolen the glories from the traditional home of rugby. Dr. Calder herself hails from South Africa, where she represented her country on the national (field) hockey team. (To Canadians, hockey is played on ice, and field hockey is played by girls.) Ah well, perhaps the tender ministrations of Sherylle Calder will help the Rose bearers to bring the trophy home to Twickenham.