Early in Maryland women’s lacrosse’s 2022 season, assistant coach Lauri Kenis gave the Terps’ defense a unique assignment.
Sitting right outside their locker room was Dynavision — a board measuring four feet tall and four feet wide with 64 light-up buttons spread across it, which aims to help athletes “improve their reaction time, visual awareness and hand-eye coordination.”
Kenis told the defense they each needed to get through one round of Dynavision in a week. After pressing start, each player has one minute to hit as many flashing buttons on the board as possible. One button lights up at a time, flashes red for a maximum of one second and needs to be hit to earn points.
The tool quickly became a daily fixture for Abby Bosco, Maryland’s defensive line leader, and Emily Sterling, the team’s goalie.
With Maryland’s field hockey and women’s lacrosse complex currently under renovation, the Dynavision board is now tucked into the corner of the gym in Maryland’s Varsity Team House, used daily and almost exclusively by the defensive pair.
“The only way you’re gonna get a high score is if you’re locked in on [the center], [your] peripheral vision can see all four quadrants and you’re reacting quickly, which is so relatable to everything we do,” Bosco said.
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One feature that’s particularly helpful for Sterling is that the system relays the statistics onto a computer, showing the average reaction time and any misses per quadrant — which are rare for the two All-Americans.
“My entire position is reactionary, so I think it really helps,” Sterling said.
Sterling has her fastest Dynavision reaction time with her top right side, which she said is logical because that is also her dominant side. Her left side is slower to react to Dynavision’s cues. Being able to see this trend provides her a “cool breakdown” for translating reaction time training to making saves on the field, Sterling said.
Though the connection between those skill sets and playing goalie is more self-explanatory, training with Dynavision also translates for Bosco. As a defender, it’s important for her to utilize the power of her peripheral vision to shut down offenses, she said.
Reaction time is also an important reason for Bosco’s participation, as she must react and move quickly when guarding an opponent and on the draw circle.
In addition to athletics, Dynavision can also be utilized for physical therapy, orthopedic clinics and rehabilitation facilities to help improve cognitive and motor function.
Neither Bosco nor Sterling had seen or heard about Dynavision prior to using it at Maryland. Even now, all the pair knows about the tool is its $15,000 price tag and the fact that it made a brief cameo in Grey’s Anatomy.
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But across the last two years, completing rounds on Dynavision has simply become routine for the duo, whether it be before practice or on game day.
Sterling usually makes her way to the board right before the team takes the field for warmups, going a few rounds until she feels locked in and gets a score she likes.
“It lets me clear my head because I can be thinking about whatever, but when you’re doing this, you can’t think, you’re just looking at the lights,” Sterling said. “It helps you get going.”
Bosco and Sterling both have the same high score of 140. Prior to moving out of the Field Hockey & Lacrosse complex, the Terps had a leaderboard posted next to the machine.
The leaderboard made things competitive, but the pair don’t see as much competition now because they get their rounds in at different times.
Sterling’s best score came on May 19, 2022 – the day of Maryland’s NCAA quarterfinal matchup against Florida. The Terps topped the Gators, who struggled to get shots past Sterling, by a score of 18-5. The victory advanced the team to the Final Four.
Maryland will hope for high scores on Dynavision from the duo throughout its postseason play, potentially leading to lower scores for their opponents on the field and a solid defensive line performance.