Reccomendations for maintianing/improving hand eye coordination?
February 13, 2014 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Are there specific exercizes that will help me maintain or even improve this? Is age a consideration?

I'm turning 43 in a few months and hand eye coordination is key to some of sports/hobbies I enjoy. (Auto Racing & Target Shooting)

I've done the searches and read some blogs. I'm looking for practical suggestions based actual experience with:
1) Measuring where I am currently
2 Exercizes that have worked based on first hand experience. If possible suggestions as to the number of repetions and/or the length/frequency required for results
posted by empty vessel to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'll let someone more knowledgeable weigh in on the exercises, but consider video games, as well. Here's a good list of smartphone apps with specific hand/eye benefits. A lot of Wii games would be helpful, too.
posted by jbickers at 12:05 PM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Learn to juggle. Seriously. Because the kinesthetic engagement is far greater than fiddling some video game controller, eye-hand coordination becomes something you experience with your vestibular system as well as your visual and motor cortices.

Also, you can read about Claude Shannon because he's awesome.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 12:17 PM on February 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

Here's another suggestion: I'd consider a pinball machine. A real one. It's so much more tactile than simulation games. They're not that expensive. Loads of fun.

A good friend of mine has always had horribly bad hand-eye coordination as a child and used playing pinball to overcome that. No evidence, and purely anecdotic, but he swears up and down that that's what helped him.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:51 PM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding video games. Play on a system that requires you to use a separate controller, it'll be more challenging in terms of your hand/eye coordination.

A hand/eye coordination drill that was always popular with my coaches in school was to tape a small square on a wall and force players to hit or throw (depending on the sport) a ball into the center of the square (over and over). You can up the difficulty by: standing further away and/or varying your distance from the wall; trying to make the ball hit the wall as hard as possible (no tossing -- that's too easy); and, requiring that you hit the target at least three times in a row before it "counts."

The batting cage is also great for hand/eye. If you want to practice at home, you can pick up a batting T and position it about five feet from a wall (more or less depending on your strength), and hit the ball off the T to a targeted spot on the wall -- once you get the knack for it you'll get it every time, but getting the knack can be surprisingly difficult because you have to hit the ball square with the bat in order for it to work.

The old standbys also still work: catch, volleys, darts, pool, bowling, jump rope. If you play catch or volley, use all your strength and move as quickly as you can while maintaining accuracy. That'll keep the margin for error lower (especially if you're practicing against a wall instead of with another person), which will be more challenging.

While you're doing any of these exercises, you'll probably see your performance get better, peak, and then decline. Stop once you're on the decline, because if you keep going after you're too tired to do it properly, you're just going to teach yourself bad habits. When that decline happens will depend on how used to the exercise you are and your fitness level, so I'm not sure offhand how long it'll be (probably around fifteen minutes per drill, but YMMV). When I played on sports teams, we used to put groups of drills together into a circuit and run through the circuit once or twice over the course of an hour or so.
posted by rue72 at 1:02 PM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I also immediately thought of juggling. It seems like it would be fun, and it's simple because there's not much equipment involved and you can do it at home, unlike many sports.
posted by Blitz at 1:45 PM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

A slower-paced activity to consider is pool/billiards. It takes a fair amount of coordination to develop some consistency with your stroke and of course vision is important, too. Plus, the better you get the more fun it is.
posted by CincyBlues at 6:48 PM on February 13, 2014

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