Hockey is all about reading and reacting which is why developing your hand-eye coordination is so important. Having the ability to knock a puck out of mid-air with your stick might help you knock down a pass, deflect a shot into the net or swat a puck out of mid-air to score a goal. Developing your hand-eye coordination can be as simple as doing off-ice exercises or by playing other sports in the off-season.
As many experts say developing as a well rounded athlete is the key to becoming an elite level player at your specific sport. Baseball, golf, and racquet sports like tennis or squash are great to develop your hand-eye coordination as well as other skills.
There are many off-ice drills that you can do to help develop your hand-eye coordination, and most of them are very simple.
Tossing a tennis ball against a wall and practicing catching it with one hand, and then the other is a great exercise. Playing a fast-paced game of catch with a partner can be a great way to boost your hand-eye coordination.
To increase the level of difficulty try using several balls at once, and put a small dot of color, or a letter or number, on each. Pick up the balls at random and toss them one after another. As they're coming back toward you, try to pick out which ball is which. This will help train your eye to pick up on details more quickly.
Learn to Juggle
For even better development of your hand-eye coordination practice juggling with tennis balls or bean bags. Juggling helps your brain make decisions on where your hands need to move based on the position and movement of the balls. Once you get the hang of that, add in some distractions such as balancing on one foot or having a conversation with someone. This can help simulate real-life situations where you face multiple distractions from every direction.
Hand-eye coordination isn't something that you think about consciously when you head out on the ice, however it should be. You want to be able to focus on exactly what you want to do when you have the puck. This type of focus can be incorporated during any form of athletic movement, but you have to practice, until you realize you are automatically doing it. Finding ways to calm your nerves before an athletic performance benefits your coordination, especially if you're nervous and under pressure.