Training Hand Eye Coordination for Athletic Success

hand eye coordination

Hand-eye coordination is the ability to guide one’s hand or eyes to a stationary or moving target. It is primarily a neurological phenomenon, but it also relies on the individual’s cognitive and perceptual skills. An athlete with good hand-eye coordination can perform tasks more quickly and efficiently than a person with low task mastery.

Successful hand eye coordination

Ultimately, the brain is responsible for coordinating the two eyes and the two hands to ensure they are fixed on the same target.

Your Field of vision occurs in three ways: turning the head, moving up and down, and moving side to side (saccadic eye movement). The hands can make movements in three different ways: rotating the wrist, opening and closing the fingers, and moving up and down.

When both eyes and both hands are locked on the same target, it is called fixation. A fixed gaze usually lasts about one second.

Vision and attention

The way that we see the world is mostly due to the coordination of our eyes. This is visual attention and hand eye coordination are so intertwined.

When you want to look at something, your brain sends a signal to your eyes and tells them where to look. When you want to move your hand, your brain sends an alert to your hand and tells it what to do.

Eye movement and hand eye coordination are closely related because they involve coordination between different parts of the body. The two main types of eye movement are saccades and smooth pursuit. Saccades are quick movements that allow us to scan a scene quickly, while smooth pursuit enables us to track an object as it moves across our field of vision.

Brain connectivity needs to communicate with both the eyes and the hands for these signals to be sent. If there is a block with one of these connections, it can lead to problems with both.

Motor skills from ground control

Motor skills are a group of physical skills that involve coordination of muscles and limbs. They are the skills that allow us to do everything from writing to playing sports. Hand eye coordination is a subset of motor skills that refers to using your hands and eyes together to complete a task. 

It is crucial for many reasons, but most importantly, it is the foundation for the motor system. The brain controls movement through a complex system of neurons that are connected by axons. These axons carry messages from one neuron to another, telling the body what to do.

The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. It has a critical role in hand eye coordination because it coordinates movement between the muscles and nerves in the arms and legs with the eyes and brain.

Creating movement

When a task is performed, the brain must first identify it as an activity that needs to be done.

It then decides which muscles need to be used for the task. The brain then sends signals through nerves to muscles that need to be activated. The brain also sends signals through nerves from muscles that have been activated, so it knows when they have been used up. This allows for fine tuning of skillsets.

  1. One of the first motor skills required when mastering a new skill. Like how to tie shoes, catch a ball, or ride a bike.
  2. It improves overall performance. People who have good hand-eye coordination are better at sports, games, and other activities that require quick reaction time
  3. Good hand-eye coordination typically coincides with better overall balance and stability.
  4. It is vital to attention and focus. It is difficult to do anything when one’s attention is divided.

However, joint attention toward a shared object helps to facilitate social interactions. Such as the teamwork and strategy required at the snap of a football.

Games for Improvement

A toddler’s brain develops hand-eye coordination at a very young age by playing with objects and watching their parents do tasks around the house such as cooking or cleaning. 

Meanwhile, a child’s motor control is also developed by playing with toys that require grasping, pushing, pulling, or turning.

“…a well-known study about basketball players who improved their free-throw percentage by 22 percent by using a “quiet eye” technique essentially, focusing on the hoop’s front rim for at least one second before shooting.”

Amanda MacMillan

To train athleticism in adults, sports such as baseball, basketball, tennis, and golf are recommended because they test both hands and eyes on the same target for an extended period. While activities like finger painting challenge cognitive training in our daily life.

Exercise has a positive impact on hand-eye coordination. Aerobic exercise may even increase brain volume, which can help improve hand-eye coordination. A 2010 study showed that regular swimming, in particular, may help with this skill. Swimming is a low-impact exercise, and the repetitive movements may also help with balance.

Another alternative that may help hand-eye coordination is Tai Chi, a Chinese practice involving meditative stretching and balance movements. In a three-month study, researchers found that Tai Chi improved hand-eye coordination by 20 percent compared to a control group that did not practice Tai Chi.

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