Why is hand-eye coordination so important?
Without hand-eye coordination, it’s very difficult to be successful in most sports because almost all sports involving a ball require hand-eye coordination. Think about most sports tasks: catching a baseball, hitting a tennis ball, dribbling a basketball … athletes need to use visual information of the ball’s location and trajectory to move their hands and body to complete a task.
You might be thinking “sports like soccer don’t need to train hand-eye coordination because players only use their feet.” Well, that’s exactly the reason soccer players SHOULD do it: they don’t get to develop hand-eye coordination anywhere else. Hand-eye coordination is for general athleticism and is not sport-specific, and developing this skill comes with the bonuses of visual tracking and anticipation. So, athletes can develop hand-eye coordination using tennis ball drills then transfer it over to their sport during practice.
Additionally, there are many other skills that go into completing hand-eye coordination drills that can transfer to sport.
-Coordination: using the entire body (arms and legs) to complete a task; for example, sprinting, wrestling, or throwing a ball. Although hand-eye coordination by definition is using visual information and the hands to complete a task, sports require the use of an athlete’s entire body, as almost nothing is performed just standing still. Tennis ball drills are valuable because the locomotion uses the entire body plus the visual information to complete the task.
-Motor control: performing movements in the right directions and intensities to accomplish a task. This is developed by putting the correct amount of effort into the throw/toss with the right direction to give the best chance of catching the ball, especially if bouncing off a wall.
-Visual tracking and anticipation: using visual information from objects to predict the rest of its path, and consequently acting on it. This is developed by judging the trajectory of the tennis ball and deciding how far and fast to move to intercept the ball.