Professional tennis players made it look super easy to bat that ball with their tennis racket. They always seem to know right where to be. They also have their racket in the right position to send the ball back over the net in the direction they want it to go.
Anyone who has ever tried to play tennis knows this is not nearly as effortless as they make it look.
Why? Because these folks have a highly developed sense of hand eye coordination. Let’s see what excellent hand eye coordination does for tennis players.
Hand Eye Coordination and Tennis
Hand eye coordination is a fundamental skill that everyone begins learning when they are born. Parents will ooh and ahh the first time their baby reaches out and grabs an object — evidence that they are beginning to develop their hand eye coordination.
This basic skill is necessary for a myriad of tasks that people do every day. Pouring a glass of water (without spilling!), stacking blocks, or driving a car would all be impossible without good hand eye coordination.
It is to be expected, then, that most sports require a highly developed sense of hand eye coordination. Without this skill, players wouldn’t be able to reach out and catch a ball, much less react to sudden changes in movement in a split second.
Tennis players develop fast-twitch muscles in their arms and legs, which allow them to respond more quickly to visual information. They also develop more fast-twitch muscles in their eyes, helping them to see the ball’s position more quickly.
After all, they can’t respond to something they don’t see.
To that end, there are a number of vision skills that tennis players must develop to improve their game. These include:
- Visual acuity: how well the player can see
- Depth perception: information on the object’s position and trajectory
- Vestibule-ocular reflex: the involuntary ability to track an object with the eye
- Peripheral vision: awareness of everything in the player’s visual field, not just what is directly in front of the player
- Visual and motor memory: an automatic reaction to a moving object
A player that is lacking in any of these skills may find smacking that little ball is A LOT harder than they thought it would be.
Improving Hand Eye Coordination with HECOstix
The great news is that anyone can improve their tennis game by improving their hand eye coordination. Endless drills bouncing tennis balls off the walls are one great way to do this, albeit a bit uninspiring.
Players looking for a fun way to work on their hand eye coordination should turn to the HECOstix. This three-legged device is perfect for playing a game with friends or other players that will boost your tennis skills at the same time.
Simply toss the device back and forth, calling out a color. The receiver must catch the HECOstix on the leg with the corresponding color. There are endless ways to change up the game, both to make it more difficult as players improve and to keep it fresh and exciting.