Training your eyes might sound a bit silly, but it’s a crucial part of becoming a pro-athlete. Many Athletes are naturally gifted with incredible hand-eye coordination, but it can also be taught. In the simplest terms, hand-eye coordination is the ability to process information received through the eyes into proper responsive movements of the hands. With proper hand-eye coordination training, you can reduce your bodies response time to a fraction of a second, which will definitely improve your game.
An important part of hand-eye coordination is the ability to quickly switch focus between things surrounding you. For example, a defender hanging over you and a teammate sending a pass from a distance across the court. You can improve this skill by daily doing a simple and short near-far exercise.
1. Take two similarly sized objects, for example, playing cards. Place one card about 18 inches away from you and the other about 10 feet away.
2. Focus on the nearest card for 5 seconds, studying as many small details as you can and then switch to the card that’s further away.
3. Keep switching back and forth for a few minutes and try to notice new details each time.
You can also do the same exercise with an object on your left and on your right to train your ability to quickly switch focus from side to side.
Playing catch is a classic American pass time and usually a great bonding moment for father and son. It is, however, also a great way to train your hand-eye coordination and peripheral vision. All you need is a basic baseball glove, ball, and a throwing partner.
1. Start off slowly from a short distance till you’re comfortable catching the ball with your glove.
2. Once you’re warmed up lengthen the distance and increase the throwing speed. It’s these fast-paced games that really help boost response time and hand-eye skills.
3. To help improve peripheral vision, let your throwing partner toss the ball overhead or towards your sides. This will help your spacial awareness.
It might surprise you many different athletes have a hidden juggle talent. Juggling is one of the greatest ways to train hand-eye coordination and shortening your response time. Juggling requires you to simultaneously focus on multiple airborne items while keeping track of what’s cycling through your hands without actually glancing at them.
According to Fraser Horn, the head instructor of Sports and Recreational Vision at Pacific University, Oregon, when you’re juggling, you’re actually looking up to the upper point where the balls cross and your brain is making decisions on where your hands need to move based on that. Therefore each varsity student must learn this skill.
1. Get 3 beanbags or hacky sacks.
2. Hold 2 balls in your dominant hand and 1 ball in your other hand.
3. Stand with your elbows bent 90 degrees with your palms facing up while looking straight forward.
4. Gently toss one of the paired-up balls into the air. You want to toss it so it goes at eye level. (Once you improve, you will be able to throw it higher)
5. Throw the ball in your opposite hand into the air immediately after, with the same gentle toss.
6. Toss the last ball that’s left in your dominant hand into the air. (there should be a brief moment in which all 3 balls are in the air)
7. Catch the balls in the order you threw them with the opposite hand from which you threw them.