How the magic glasses of the Swiss goalkeeper Sommer work and the penalty blocked to Mbappè

Swiss goalkeeper

The extreme defender of the national team led by Petkovic has been seen in recent days to train wearing what look like normal sunglasses. And instead they hide an (old) technology that trains the vision and the reactivity of the brain

They look like sunglasses, but they are actually an invention of a Japanese company that can improve eyesight and reflexes. Swiss goalkeepers use them in training.

This isn’t some extravagant fad, nor is it the latest folly of a player: science is at stake here. The clarification is in order, since it’s not every day you see a soccer goalie training while wearing sunglasses.

The photos of Sommer, Switzerland’s number 1, intent on fending off balls during a training session with a pair of dark lenses are making the rounds of the world and the web, with curiosity growing among fans: and if the method may seem somewhat unusual, know that for the national team coached by Petkovic it is now a habit.

For several years, in fact, the Swiss have introduced into their goalkeeper training sessions what only appear to be sunglasses; instead, it is a product designed by a Japanese company that would have the ability to develop eyesight and, consequently, athletic skills and reflexes, especially if you are a soccer goalkeeper by trade. They are called Strobe Glasses, but there are those who prefer to call them “smart glasses”, since they “talk” with the brain of the wearer, stimulating the eyeball and eye muscles, thus preventing corneal degeneration.

The functioning is based on a series of stimuli that, through different functions, the glasses are able to give to the eye: from the lenses that emit “flashing” lights, making the eye blind intermittently to stimulate the muscles of the eyeball and speed up movements, to those that reproduce the “slow-motion” effect, to train the ability to react. It is enough to wear them for 15 minutes every two or three days for a period of 2-3 months and, according to the manufacturer, remarkable results are obtained, with a 10% increase in visual capacity.

They call him a sex symbol. And to tell the truth also “bonsai”, since with 1,83 meters he is among the shortest goalkeepers of the professional circuit (and in fact it seems that in the official photos he tends to put himself on tiptoe).

But going back to the first definition, Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer – who plays the guitar, is a famous food blogger, travels in a convertible and lends his face to advertisements for face creams, aftershave, rings, watches, shirts, hats… – When he works out in sunglasses, it’s not because he is cool. Nor is it because his last name means “summer.”

The particular glasses you see above and below, during training with the national team led (at the quarterfinals of the European Championships) by Petkovic, are not sunglasses and are used by Sommer and his fellow goalkeepers to increase responsiveness to the ball and therefore performance on the field.

As you can read on the website of VisionUp – the Japanese company that provides the glasses to the Swiss national team – just 10 to 15 minutes of use per day, on alternate days, for 8 weeks to have guaranteed results on the performance of their eyeballs. Greater focus and faster dialogue with the brain. Just enough to save a penalty kick for Mbappè, the decisive one, and send him home.

But how do they work?

Even if during the commentary of the France-Switzerland eighth game there was talk of magic glasses, of “Japanese instruments” that always look a bit like Mazinga, it is actually a rather old technology (we are talking about the thirties, at MIT, according to Wikipedia), the disco strobe lights. Hence the name of “strobe glasses”, put on the market for example by Nike almost 10 years ago for the training of athletes’ eyes.

And if the testimonials fielded by the Japanese are interesting sportsmen – from the tennis player to the field hockey coach – and, especially in the case of Switzerland at the European Championships, well-functioning as marketing (to the point that the English website was put online in a hurry, and Western distributors are being sought), Senaptec’s American competitors even put the elite of US sports on the plate. The “magic glasses” are used by practically all MLB baseball teams and NFL football teams.

The game is that of strobe lights: they turn on and off at short, regular intervals to provide a “slow-motion” view of what is happening.

This is what happens in the eyesight of the athlete who wears glasses: the ball, whether it be soccer or baseball, round or oval, big or small like a tennis ball, moves “in jerks”, our brain learns to perceive it better, seeing its trajectory. And with a little training it reacts faster to the images transmitted by the eye. A mixture between Luke Skywalker with the paralaser lowered and the “bullet time” a la Matrix. With certified benefits also in the fight against aging eyesight.

For those who want some scientific data on the functioning of the “strobe” training, the one that contributed to the “Swiss miracle” against world champion France, here you can find (in English) a 2017 study on the use of strobe glasses in the preparation of soccer goalkeepers. Sex symbol and not.

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