Hockey players balance precariously on boots with thin blades attached, while zipping around an icy arena.
This task by itself is already an incredible feat.
Add to that bulky clothing, awkward gloves that dampen the motor skills, and other people trying to keep the player from accomplishing their task — which is to hit a small disk with an awkwardly shaped stick into the opposing team’s goal.
How do they do all that?
Because they have developed excellent hand eye coordination skills. Let’s look at why hand eye coordination is important in hockey and how players can improve their game by working on this skill.
Hand Eye Coordination and Hockey
Hand eye coordination is responsible for the ability to do many everyday tasks. Most people don’t think twice about pouring coffee in their cups in the morning or reach out to grab their keys on the way to work. However, there was once a time they couldn’t do those things.
All babies have to learn hand eye coordination. Some people have an easier time developing the skill, but nobody is born with the ability to do something as simple as clap their hands.
Sports often stretch hand eye coordination skills to the extreme and hockey is no different. Players need to be able to track the puck as it whizzes around on the ice, keep track of what’s going on around them, and tell their body to respond appropriately.
Vision skills are a big part of hand eye coordination for hockey players. They need to have:
- Peripheral vision to see players coming at them from all sides
- Excellent tracking skills to follow the puck
- Depth perception to correctly gauge distances (particularly when both the player and the other object are moving)
Their bodies also need to be able to react incredibly quickly to strike the puck with their stick. A goalie has the tremendous task of keeping track of a puck that several players may be fighting over and being ready to throw their body in the correct direction in a split second.
None of this is possible without excellent hand eye coordination.
Improving Hand Eye Coordination for Hockey Players
Luckily, players can improve hand eye coordination with practice. There are many hockey drills that players can use to hone their skills.
Playing catch with a tennis ball or learning to juggle with both help. The disadvantage of these methods is that they are not very scalable. In other words, as the player improves, they can’t make them too much harder.
HECOstix provide an incredibly fun way to work on hand eye coordination that is also very scalable. Players toss the HECOstix back and forth while calling out colors. The receiver must catch the grip with the corresponding color.
Add distance, numbers, different ways to throw and different ways to catch, and any other number of creative ways to make the training more difficult. This also means that anyone can benefit from training with HECOstix from kids on up to professional hockey players.
Pick one up and try it today!