Leading sports scientist and visual skills coach, Dr. Sherylle Calder, speaks about her intrigue with sport as a child, which is what led her down the path of this career choice and onto receiving her PHD at the University of Cape Town. Sherylle founded her online Visual Intelligence Training Company, EyeGym in 1996 and says while her coaching was initially aimed at elite athletes, it now also assists other professions and children with their visual skills. Nearly 22 years later and Sherylle is still mainly involved in the practical sports science side of the EyeGym online program.
Sherylle discusses how she coaches professional sportsmen and women individually, even in team sport such as Rugby, where she was part of the England coaching staff that won the 2003 World Cup and then assisted the Springbok players in lifting the trophy at the 2007 tournament. Sherylle is now back with the RFU, having been contracted in January of 2017 and says she will have more than enough time to train the players leading up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Having worked with professional Football, Cricket and Netball teams, Sherylle also assists individuals such as Golfers, Tennis players and Cyclists and says while the visual training is the same, the difference is that she gets to spend more time with the elite athletes in the single person sports than she does with each player in the team sports. Even though the majority of the teams and individuals Sherylle works with in each sport involve a ball of some kind, she insists that her visual training skills also benefit athletes in sports such as Boxing, Swimming and Rowing.
Sherylle mentions how EyeGym has also assisted businesses with their visual skills training, as at banking company Nedbank she has helped the employees improve their productivity, while at insurance company Discovery she assisted in decreasing their loss ratio in claims. She adds that when it comes to CEO’s needing to make quick and accurate decisions, EyeGym aids in the ability to take information in and processes it speedily, which results in a better performance of the individual and company. The visual skills training that is used in professional Rugby is adapted slightly for those in the business environment, although the same core principles of the program remain.
With EyeGym having made a massive difference to elite athletes and businesses alike for over two decades, Sherylle is adamant that there is still so much to be achieved through her online program. Cognitive skills of children is a main area EyeGym have begun to focus on is this modern era of “digital decline” as Sherylle says and hopes to accelerate the performance of every individual that contacts them.
“It has a huge impact on business, CEO’s have to think on their feet and that really involves taking the information in, processing it correctly and then responding. So it impacts every single person that’s involved in any way that they use their eyes.” – Sherylle Calder (Sport Scientist and Founder of EyeGym / Visual Performance Coach at Rugby Football Union)