Sports

England Rugby's Message To Players: Stay Off Your Phones

Put those smartphones down.
January 24, 2017, 5:42pm
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If you've spent a couple of hours starring down at your iPhone, scrolling through Twitter - then look up and notice that the world is spinning, you're not the only one who has thought about the negatives of smartphones.

England Rugby certainly has been, too. They have employed a special vision consultant - South African Sherylle Calder - to monitor their elite players' smartphone usage and insure that it doesn't create additional problems with co-ordination.

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"In the modern world, the ability of players to have good awareness is deteriorating by the nature of mobile phones," Calder - who at the request of Aussie-born coach Eddie Jones will first just work with the backs - told the Daily Telegraph.

"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.

"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."

Calder, who is contracted with England until the 2019 Rugby World Cup, has previously worked with the South African rugby team, golfer Ernie Els and Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill to ensure correct vision techniques.