The sport of rhythmic gymnastics requires its athletes to throw and catch, roll, rotate, and twirl their different apparatus in the air or on parts of their bodies. Because of this, eye-hand coordination is one of the basic skills a beginner rhythmic gymnast must learn before she could do well at her chosen sport. This should go hand in hand with her balance, flexibility, and strength.
What if our kids want to join rhythmic gymnastics but we noticed that their eye-hand coordination isn’t that accurate? What can we do for our kids to finally be able to participate in a sport she has chosen? Well you’re in luck, because here we have prepared a list of exercises to enhance our kids’ eye-hand coordination.
But First, Physical Check-Up
There are two body parts involved in this process—the hands, and the eyes. Among the two mentioned body parts, the eyes are the most important, specifically the central and the peripheral vision. First and foremost, to improve our kids’ eye-hand coordination, we must check their eyesight. Why, you might wonder? According to Fraser Horn, an instructor of Sports and Recreational Vision at Pacific University in Oregon, this is because, “The better the input, the better the output.”
This statement goes well with the definition of eye-hand coordination as Wikipedia described it. The website defines it as the coordinated control of eye movement with hand movement, and the processing of visual input to guide reaching and grasping.
The athletes, no matter what their sports are, should have eyesight even better than 20/15. Horn said that if someone’s playing an action sport, they should see better than the average person, because that’s going to help reduce their reaction time.
If our kids indeed have poor eyesight, there are lenses and glasses that could immediately give our young athletes the big boost in eye-hand coordination that they needed.
For any range of ages, there is one object that is going to be really helpful in improving eye-hand coordination, and that is the ball. It doesn’t matter what kind of ball, as long as it can be gripped by the kids.
For younger kids, they can gently toss or roll the ball to the other as the other tries to catch it. For a much harder ball exercise, we can tie the ball inside a net and they tie the net to something, where its level is easily reached by our kids. The kids can then push the ball and try to catch it, or bat the ball multiple times. This is harder because the ball’s direction can change anytime, and if our kids got better at this, then their eye-hand coordination has also gotten better.
To improve the kids’ central vision, tossing the ball themselves can be helpful. They can toss it into the air or against a wall, catch it with one hand and then the other. If they can play with a partner, they can pass the ball to each other faster and that’s even better in boosting their skills because the partner can throw it at an unexpected direction so its direction doesn’t just come and go at one place.
If our kids are alone exercising and they wanted a harder exercise, they can do the toss and catch with more than one ball at once. The balls can have a number on them and our kids can guess which one is coming at him and which isn’t. It doesn’t help much with the hand movement, but it trains the eyes to pick up on details more quickly, which can help our aspiring gymnast on the floor.
Since we are on the line of using more than one ball at once, we can teach the kids to juggle—this would improve their peripheral vision this time since they have to account also their peripheral vision to catch the balls.
“When you’re juggling, you’re actually looking up to the upper point where the balls cross and your brain is making decisions on where your hands need to move based on that,” Horn says. “There’s really no better way to train your eye-hand coordination—we teach it to all of our athletes, from middle schoolers up to professionals.”
Although that helps improve peripheral vision, there is an even better exercise to improve the eyes’ fast-shifting abilities. If our kids are performing on the floor and threw, for example, the clubs in the air, they must know how to calculate which one is falling first at what position and be able to catch it. That requires the fast-shifting abilities of our eyes, which can be exercised with apps like Vison Tap and Luminosity.
There are so much more exercises to improve the eye-hand coordination, and electronics is helping a lot in the improvement of athletes’ training. Even if they don’t have that on hand, they can use the basic and simple apparatus for their training. What’s important is that they must not lose their motivation and hard work.
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