Hand-eye coordination is very vital in every action sports. The baseball players who have better hand-eye coordination perform at a higher level as they have improved visual-motor reaction time, states a scientific study.
Some players are gifted in this matter and have better coordination than others. However, this is a skill that could be learned and improved over time; it just requires correct practicing with the right drills.
Why we need Hand-eye coordination in baseball?
The whole game of the player depends upon the hand-eye coordination in baseball. It is a sport that requires quick responses.
The better the hand-eye coordination is, the better will be the response. It is needed for every player in the game. From a pitcher to a fielder to a base runner, every player should master it.
Solving a math question needs essential brain activities; the same is true with the ball coming towards you on the field.
Your brain needs to calculate where the ball will fall. The misinterpretation could cause the ball to fall on the ground instead of your hands. You need hand-eye coordination to respond to the situation, as mentioned earlier, quickly.
Also, a hitter needs this coordination to hit the ball. Eyes have a significant role in giving the signal to the brain where the ball will touch the bat. Before hitting the ball, this interpretation is the first thing that the hitter needs to do. Failing to do so will lead to a ‘strike’.
Eye-hand coordination is required to analyze the correct timing of being in contact with the ball and produce responses according to it.
A delayed timing could lead to significant damage for your team on the scoreboard. So, for every player, it is a must thing to enhance hand-eye coordination.
How to drills Hand-eye coordination in baseball?
When you want to improve your hand-eye coordination, the first thing to do is to get your eyesight checked. If you have below-average eyesight, you will have trouble perceiving the coming ball.
Furthermore, you will lose precious reaction time when you have a problem focusing on the target. Any vision aid, like contacts or glasses, will help you in this matter.
After doing the eyesight check, you can practice some drills to improve hand-eye coordination. You need to enhance your peripheral and central vision along with the reaction time to do that.
Take simple tests available online to check your status. Practicing these drills help you to improve your timings to react and take appropriate actions.
The most beneficial drills for you are as follow:
#1: Catching the Tennis Ball
For Improving Central Vision:
This drill will improve your central vision. Toss a tennis ball against a wall, try to catch it with one hand, and then use another hand when you don’t have anyone to play ‘catch’ with. When you have someone to play, enjoy a fast-paced catch game.
When you reach the pro level of catching one ball, increase the balls gradually. You can also increase your details picking ability by adding any alphabet or number on the balls.
Overall, this exercise will improve your decision-making abilities with improved eye movement.
For Improving Peripheral Vision:
Take the help of a partner to improve your peripheral vision. You can ask your partner to toss the ball at your left or right side, overhead or below your shoulders.
You will find it difficult at the start, but gradually your brain will adapt, and you will improve. This drill helps as the ball will not always entertain your central vision on the field.
Juggling is one of the best ways to improve your hand-eye coordination. Initiate by using three beanbags. Juggling helps in decision making and coordinating hand movements with vision.
While seeing the moving objects, your brain decides where it falls, and you need to take your hand there.
When you become a juggling professional, add more and more difficulties. Like, do it on a balance board, or turn on the TV or radio to distract your mind.
There are many distractions on the field, and your brain should learn to coordinate your eyes with your hands to perform at a high level.
#3: Focus Shifting Exercises
To do better on the field, you should be able to shift your focus quickly from one object to another and produce a response.
You can improve it by doing simple near far drills. You can do so by taking two detailed and equal-sized objects like two book covers. Place one book near you and another at least a foot away.
Firstly, look at the nearest object for five seconds, noticing as many details as you can, and then shift to the second object doing the same. Do it backwards and forward for a minute or so, noticing different details each time.
You can also place them on your right and left side at the same distance to shift your focus from one direction to another.
#4: Ball Dropping
The ball drop drill is a straightforward practice to improve your eye-hand coordination. You need to be agile to do it. Take a ball that bounces back when it hits the floor.
Hit the ball on the ground and bounce it away from you. Try to catch it before it touches the ground again.
When you master it with your dominant hand, do it with the other hand to improve the hand-eye coordination of both hands. Increase the difficulty further by enhancing the speed or increasing the number of balls.
#5: Catching without Seeing the Ball Direction
You need a partner to do this drill. Ask your coach/ friend to stand on an elevated surface behind your back. Then they need to throw the balls in a way that they fall in front of you in the field one by one.
You should show agility to catch the ball before it touches the ground. They must throw the ball outside your vision field at first.