Hand-eye coordination and reaction-time training usually go hand in hand when it comes to athletic performance and sports. So I am going to touch on some of the most popular drills to help you improve both of them simultaneously. The two don’t always go together of course: Reaction-time training is all about reducing reaction time and improving quickness, while there are many relatively slow and deliberately methodical activities that still require tremendous precision and incredible hand-eye coordination, such as painting, playing a musical instrument, or brain surgery! In sports however, hand-eye coordination usually involves speed and timing, like with ball and racket sports. Catching, throwing, hitting, passing, shooting and driving all require tremendous amounts of hand-eye coordination, usually in a reactive, time-critical situation. Depending on the sport, balls can be traveling at 90 miles per hour or faster, bouncing and spinning along the way. Perhaps a better way to look at this is body-eye tracking coordination, or neuromuscular mapping and reaction. Because in most sports, it’s not just our hands having to react, but usually our entire body. Our feet must first transport our bodies into position to make the play with our hands or rackets! The good news is, all this can be trained and improved with practice and very simple drills, though apparently much of the foundation is laid when we our kids. So if you played multiple sports growing up as a kid – good for you! Your neuromuscular connections, reactive-timing, hand-eye coordination and muscle-memory will always be there for you, albeit a little rusty if you haven’t been on the court in a while!
Before I get to these basic drills, you should know that the most fun way to develop your hand-eye coordination and improve your reaction-time is to just go out and play the sports you love! You’ll be much more motivated if you’re having fun and are going all out to make the play or win the game. The adrenalin, endorphins and dopamine boost we get only through the passion of being immersed in the game will greatly improve your performance and fitness too. Some of the best sports to improve hand-eye coordination and reaction time are certainly not the most physically demanding: Ping Pong or Table-tennis, and most racket sports require equal parts hand-eye coordination, reaction, and timing. If you like the beach, I recommend checking out SmashBall beach tennis – another great option! Peppering or bumping the volleyball is great too.
|Above - a reaction training 'ball'|