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Four Activities to Improve Hand-Eye Coordination at Home

By Michael Dundas, Manager, Hockey Development, 01/13/21, 2:45PM EST

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You don't even need a puck or stick


Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

Hand-eye coordination is an important skill for athletes that can sometimes be overlooked when discussing skill development. The ability to execute skills that require the simultaneous use of our hands and eyes, adds speed and accuracy to skills like receiving a pass or knowing where the puck is on your stick while skating.

Activities that specifically target coordination help the body learn based on repetitive action and many can be done with common household objects. You often don’t even need a hockey stick or puck to work on this skill. Taking a few minutes each day can keep the mind sharp and eyes focused on improving hand-eye coordination. Some of these can even be done with a sibling or family member in your household.

Keep an open mind when doing these activities as you might not initially see the direct connection to hockey but they will help improve your game. Here are some hand-eye coordination activities to add to your at-home skill sessions.

JUMP ROPE

Jump rope/skipping not only helps improve coordination but can also be used as a cardio exercise. Players have to coordinate with their hands and feet ensuring the timing of their jumps occur at the proper time. When comfortable, players can start jumping on alternating feet or do crossovers with their arms. Skipping can be done in a stationary position or moving around if the proper space is available. Keeping a controlled rhythm while exercising is another hidden benefit.

KEEP UPS

Some teams already employ this skill as part of their pre-game warm up. Although usually done in a group, this exercise can be done individually. A player has to keep the ball up in the air through knees and kicks without having it hit the ground. Hockey players also do this by tossing and catching the puck flat on their stick.

For those who want to work in pairs (in the same household), simply inflating a balloon can unlock a whole new game. Keep the balloon up in the air by volleying it in different directions with different speeds. Work to keep the balloon from touching the ground and be creative in using your hands, feet, knees and head to keep it afloat. Gradually increase the distance between you and your partner to make it more challenging.


Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

JUGGLING

Juggling requires a great deal of coordination. For beginners, start with two balls and work on your speed and timing. The successful addition of a third ball will take lots of practice. This is a great exercise to keep cool under pressure by maintaining a rhythm. For the experts, add in some distractions – try balancing on one foot or answering math problems.

WALL TOSS

This is one of the best ways to develop hand-eye coordination. You often see goalies practicing this drill during their pre-game warm up. Simply use a tennis ball and bounce it off the wall to catch with the other hand. The smaller the ball, the tougher it gets. Vary your positioning and angles to add unpredictability. You can stand, be on your knees or lying on your back to challenge yourself. If you’re working with a partner, start with your back to the wall and turn to catch it when they toss it. 


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