As a lacrosse goalie having good hand eye coordination is one of our strongest assets.
The ability to see a high velocity shot and move your top hand into its path requires not only quick reactions but also great hand-eye coordination.
Some lacrosse goalies are blessed with great hand eye coordination, others not so much.
Luckily for all goalies hand eye coordination is something that can improved with exercises.
Here a few exercises to work into your workout routine to help improve hand-eye coordination.
The Letter Ball drill will help your eyes focus on a moving object. Something that is critical for lacrosse goalie success.
For the drill we’ll write letters on a lacrosse ball or a tennis ball with a Sharpie pen.
As we throw the ball against the wall we’ll call out the letter you see which requires intense focus with the eyes to see the details on the moving object.
We can also do the same thing when taking shots in the cage.
Here is Max Shank from Ultimate Athleticism explaining the drill:
To be a great lacrosse goalie with strong hand-eye coordination you have to strengthen the muscles inside and out of your eye.
The letter ball, shown in the video above is an awesome way to kill two birds with one stone. The muscles inside help you change focus of your near-far vision, and the outside muscles help your eyes track the ball as it comes at you in different positions.
I’m talking about good old fashioned table tennis.
When I was a kid I spent nearly every day during the summer at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club in Santa Rosa, CA where I played endless games of ping pong. It was here I developed my love for ping pong and also the numerous athletic benefits it provides.
As a result, I now encourage all lacrosse goalies to play ping pong in their free time.
Playing table tennis is a great way to stimulate the brain and promote quick thinking while improving hand-eye coordination.
Table tennis is a low-injury risk sport that keeps one fit and flexible, without putting severe stress on joints.
Playing ping pong increases one’s agility and flexibility, and most of all their reaction time.
In a competitive game of ping pong a player has to react to the ball, move their feet, take their top hand holding the racket to the ball, all in less than half a second!
Does that sound like another position we all know?
I played a lot of video games when I was growing. While I didn’t know it at the time my original Nintendo was responsible for developing the strong hand-eye coordination that I enjoyed in college.
Playing action and sports video games can sharpen visual perception and motor skills.
The coordination of eye and hand movements required by some video games – like Call of Duty – might even be greater than that of other activities, such as actually playing the game of baseball.
But use moderation with video games of course. Excessive play is disastrous and unnecessary.
Learn to Juggle
Learning to juggle is a great method to improve your hand-eye coordination.
When you’re juggling properly, 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.
There’s really no better way to train your eye-hand coordination. All young lacrosse goalies should learn to juggle.
Once you get the hang of that, you can add in some distractions.
Try juggling while standing on a balance board. Or try juggling while talking to the coach. This will simulate the real game situation where you get stimuli from all directions.
The best video for learning all how to juggle that I have found is this one:
Special Apps to Improve Hand-Eye Coordination
Like my suggestion above of using video games to improve hand-eye coordination, lacrosse goalies can also use apps on their phone.
Several iPhone or Android apps have been developed specially for improving hand-eye coordination.
Others are simply games that will help your hand-eye coordination
Here are a few to try:
Vision Tap – A collection of vision-related procedures that can be used in the treatment of some common vision problems. In addition, these procedures can help with eye-hand coordination, reaction time, as well as some reading and learning issues.
Luminosity – Combines 25+ cognitive games into a daily training program that challenges your brain. Games adapt to your unique performances — helping you stay challenged in a wide variety of cognitive tasks.
Try those apps out on an iPhone or iPad and see how they impact your hand-eye coordination.
Eye-hand coordination may seem like something a lacrosse goalie is either born with or not, but it can also be a learned skill.
In addition to normal lacrosse goalie exercises, incorporating some unconventional exercises into your routine can help improve your hand-eye coordination.
So if you as a lacrosse are struggling to see and react to shots – ask yourself this question.
How’s your hand eye coordination?
Until next time! Coach Damon
Any other methods you goalies use to improve your hand eye coordination? Let me know about it down below in the comments.
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About Coach Damon
About Coach Damon
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.