From when you are born until you are roughly seven years old, your mind is like a book of sponges, developing various connections at an alarming rate, which includes the hand-eye coordination. This important brain feature is what dictates your reaction time, from catching a plate before it crashes onto the floor, to swerving your car out of harm’s way just in time.
If you are over seven years old, do not panic! By repeatedly firing up these pathways in your nervous system, you can still build them into powerful assets, improving your focus, reducing your clumsiness, and even delaying the mental aging process. What’s more, the development of these biological infrastructures can be enormously fun! Sound too good to be true? Read on to find out.
1. Racket and Bat Games
Besides getting your blood pumping and providing endless hours of healthy entertainment, those classic sports which make use of rackets or bats are exceptionally valuable in sharpening the conversation between your eyes and your hands. Whether baseball, tennis, or ping pong, you are not only forced to pinpoint where the ball is at lightening speeds before connecting your bat/racket to the object, but you also have to gage your opponent’s maneuvers and react accordingly.
No sports partner? No problem! Instead, try bouncing the ball on your racket 50 times in a row, alternating which side of the instrument you use. This solo motion will keep your eyes darting and your hands moving as high speeds in much the same valuable way.
2. Ball Throwing and Catching Games
There is nothing quite as fun as a game of catch or frisbee with your best friend, especially when considering the incidental eye/hand coordination enhancements. But why not push these activities into even stranger realms of amusement? For example: replace the ball with a balloon! Due to the unpredictable nature of this floating object, you can really deceive your partner about your next move, challenging their coordinations by shifting into all sorts of erratic directions.
Once again, if you are by yourself, this is still no excuse not to brush up on your hand-eye relationship. Why not give juggling a try? This will not only keep you on your toes, but could develop into one very impressive party trick! Another idea could be to work a medicine ball into all of your general exercise routines, throwing it up and catching it during stomach crunches or passing it from hand to hand during a squat, making the most out of your gym sessions!
3. Cardio Exercises
If you’re addicted to the cardio side of physical training, you will be pleased to know that there are ways to tackle both of these important assets with one stone. A skipping rope, for example, will get your heart racing and your legs burning, whilst also ensuring you keep a keen eye on the rope itself, or you may just fall on your face! For even greater rewards, practice getting fancy with your moves by crossing your arms, alternating your feet, and accelerating your speeds, until your eyes and hands become one and the same.
Another great idea would be the sport of boxing. From dodging and blocking your opponent’s punches, to trying to land shots of your own, your coordination turns into an essential technique of survival! If this sounds too scary to you, there is no shame in getting into a brawl with a boxing bag, as their swinging motion can be surprisingly inconsistent while you’re trying to hone in the perfect jab.
4. Video Games
Controversial! And yet, video games which require a fast reaction time and a delicate touch are well documented to promote a much higher visual perception, which increases overall motor skills for its player. In fact, many surgeons have expressed their love for indulging in video game pleasures, not exclusively for reasons of recreation, but also to polish up their professional coordination skills.
That said, everything in moderation! Too much video gaming can have the opposite effect, causing repetitive muscle stress in the hands as well as straining your eyes until your coordination is the last of your worries!
Finally, to encourage kids (or the kid inside of you) to train up these responses, there are plenty of fun toy activities which demand this particular attention from your brain. Building complex jigsaw puzzles, constructions tall Lego masterpieces, or carefully gluing together airplane models are all exciting pastimes which invite the hands and eyes to work in unison.
Another oft-forgotten hobby in this computer age is that of coloring books. Such a therapeutic exploration of complementary crayons which forces your hands to stay within the lines is an entertaining exercise that can be enjoyed by all ages, and probably considerably more difficult than you remember!