Sunday, May 16, 2021

Eye Opening Experience

Coach Wayne’s Corner

Ray Ban

We all remember the line that our moms use to say…”You can put an eye out doing that!” Well the truth is, mom knew more than we were giving her credit for!

In addition to mom’s sage advice of putting an eye out, we all now hear the warnings about melanoma and skin cancer. This warning is especially true living here in South Florida. Even during the rainy season, the days are sunny, and we are out and about, living the lifestyle that attracts so many people to Florida.

While I see pickleball players properly protecting themselves by being slathered in sunscreen, wearing long sleeve UV protective shirts and hats, I am amazed as to how many players I see out in the bright sunshine not wearing sunglasses!

The fact is, our eyes need protection from the sun just as much as our skin does, not to mention the possibility of eye injuries due to being hit in the eye with the pickleball, which gets us back to mom’s sage old advice.

The two most common injuries in the sport of pickleball are players falling and players being hit in the eye by the ball.

In one of my previous columns titled, “On the Right Foot,” (October 12, 2018), I discussed the importance of wearing proper tennis shoes when playing pickleball and I am happy to report that I have seen many of my students and readers out on the court sporting their new shoes!

So now I want to discuss eye protection. I personally wear some form of glasses 24/7, because without them, I cannot clearly see anything!

This leads us to another old saying our coaches always told us, “Keep your eye on the ball.”

With all of that understood, while any good pair of sunglasses will do the job, for sports activities I recommend a sport-specific frame. My personal favorite brands are Oakley, Maui Jim and Ray Ban.

These frames are designed to fit snugly during active movement. They fit very close to the cheeks and prevent reflective light from intruding on both the side of our eyes as well as light reflecting off the court surface.

Plan on spending $150 to $200 for the frames, plus the cost of filling your prescription lens, if you are visually challenged like me.

This is an investment which is well worth its return, because you will not only be able to see the ball better, which will improve your game, but you will also look better in your new sports frames!

Wayne Clark is a professional tennis instructor with over 25 years experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction and is on staff as an instructor with The Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida at East Naples Community Park. Contact Coach Wayne by email at, or by phone or text at 239-450-6161.

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