Original Research 

Enhancing Ice Hockey Skills Through Stroboscopic Visual Training: A Pilot Study

Stephen R. Mitroff, PhD; Peter Friesen, BSc, PT, PE, PGDPE, BEd, LAT, CAT(c), CMT, CSCS, PES, SCS; Doug Bennett, MA, ATC, PES, CSCS; Herb Yoo, MS; Alan W. Reichow, OD, MEd, FAAO

  • Athletic Training and Sports Health Care
  • November/December 2013 - Volume 5 · Issue 6: 261-264
  • DOI: 10.3928/19425864-20131030-02


Recent research has suggested that a new sport training tool may enhance vision, attention, and response timing. The tool, stroboscopic eyewear, includes lenses that alternate between transparent and opaque states to produce stroboscopic visual conditions. Previous research has demonstrated that stroboscopic training can improve visual abilities, but can stroboscopic training affect sport performance directly? The current pilot study explored this question by assessing athletic skill in professional ice hockey players. Participants trained either with stroboscopic eyewear (strobe group) or with no eyewear (control group). The strobe group averaged an 18% improvement in on-ice skill performance from pretraining to posttraining, whereas the control group’s performance did not improve. The current results demonstrate improvement in the athletic skill of professional athletes with training that added one new component—wearing stroboscopic eyewear—to their normal routines. [Athletic Training & Sports Health Care. 2013;5(6):261–264.]

Dr Mitroff is from the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham; Mr Friesen and Mr Bennett are from the Carolina Hurricanes, Raleigh, North Carolina; Mr Yoo is an independent consultant to Nike Inc, Beaverton; and Dr Reichow is from Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon. At the time this research was conducted, Mr Yoo was employed as Innovation Director for Nike SPARQ Sensory Performance, and Dr Reichow was employed as Global Research Director, Vision Sciences, Nike Inc, Beaverton, Oregon.

Nike Inc provided SPARQ Vapor Strobe eyewear for this study and advised Mr Friesen on the initial study design. Nike Inc had no role in the conduct of the study; the collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Dr Mitroff reported serving on the Nike SPARQ Advisory Board and reported receiving a previous grant and travel support from Nike Inc outside of the current work. Mr Friesen reported having received travel support from Nike Inc. The remaining authors have no financial or proprietary interest in the materials presented herein.

The authors thank Digby Elliott, Mark Williams, and three anonymous reviewers for helpful feedback on an earlier version of the manuscript. The authors also thank Greg Appelbaum, Matt Cain, and members of the Duke Visual Cognition laboratory for their constructive comments, and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Address correspondence to Stephen R. Mitroff, PhD, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke University, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, LSRC B203, Box 90999, Durham, NC 27708; e-mail: mitroff@duke.edu.

Received: May 14, 2013
Accepted: August 15, 2013
Posted Online: October 30, 2013



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