Coordination is the ability to get your muscles and your senses to work together to smoothly and efficiently accomplish a task. The right muscles need to contract at the right time with the right amount of force. Coordination can be improved with practice but like strength it is very specific. Improving your hand-eye coordination does not improve your foot-eye coordination.
Getting better at shooting targets in a video game will not do much to improve your hand-eye coordination for badminton or basketball. To get better at a specific task you should practice that specific task or something very similar. To improve your overall coordination practice doing different types of tasks. As the names suggest hand-eye coordination is getting your muscles to move your hand to the right place at the right time. Foot-eye coordination is getting your feet to move to the right spot at the right time. A lack of coordination can make it seem like you are very unlucky. Bad things happen to clumsy people.
It takes time for your body to learn how to do something. Some muscles contract that should not contract, some don't contract at the right time and some contract with too much or not enough force. After some practice the muscles start work together more efficiently. The timing gets better and the movements become smoother. Having good coordination is important because without it your strength, speed, balance, endurance and flexibility are wasted. You need coordination to succeed.
Exercises for Improving Overall Coordination
Throwing, catching, stacking, shooting, jumping, punching and kicking exercises can improve your overall coordination. Do an activity over and over again to get better at it. Avoid practicing the same exact movement all the time. For instance if you are throwing a ball into a net do not keep throwing it from the same spot. Throw it from different locations. The list below contains only a few ideas. There are lots of other things you can do to improve your coordination.
Kicking a ball and getting it where you want to go is not that easy. If your foot does not connect with the ball just right or if your foot was not moving at the right speed then you miss your intended target. Try traveling with the ball by kicking it from one foot to another. Then kick at a far away target.
Tossing a ball or other object at a target is common in sports. You need to get the ball going at the right angle at the right speed so it ends up where you want it. Rolling a ball is also good for coordination. Practice throwing and rolling objects at a target.
Catching a ball with your hands, a glove or lacrosse stick is a good exercise for improving your coordination. You can also catch other things like a Frisbee. If you don't have someone to throw to you then you could bounce the ball against a wall and catch it when it comes back.
Juggling involves throwing and catching two or more objects. You can use any object that you can comfortably throw and catch. I practiced juggling using some plastic balls. Using different sizes and different weights makes it more challenging. Try to juggle three or more objects at a time so at least one object is in the air at all times.
Stacking objects on top of each other as high as you can or placing them close together without them falling requires fine muscle movements. It could be a house of cards, a pile of plastic cups or a pile of blocks. The harder it is to place the objects without them falling the better it is for improving your hand-eye coordination.
Putting puzzles together does not just require knowing where the pieces fit. You also need to place the pieces in exactly the right spot. It is good for improving your fine motor control. Practice with puzzles that have small pieces. Solving puzzles can also give you a good mental workout.
Swing at a ball or birdie. Hit a ball away from you, hit it up in the air or hit it at a wall so it bounces back. If you have lots of balls or hit them so they come back then you can practice by yourself. I tried it with a badminton birdie and racket. It is a lot harder than it looks. Try to get the ball or birdie to go where you want it to go. If you have a volleyball then you can practice swinging your arms and hitting with your hands.
Punching is easy but punching at a moving target and connecting is not. Practice punching a punching bag that moves when you hit it or spar with someone. I have a light punching bag that came with a Tae Bo exercise DVD. Tae Bo is cardio kick boxing. Since it is a light punching bag it requires more control. Stop your fist at a specific spot. I don't try to punch through the punching bag. I aim just inside the edge.
Shooting games require you to aim and shoot. Quickly moving your hand into the right position and shooting at the right time to hit the target requires good coordination. For best results try to always hit your target. Compensating for your bad aim by shooting lots of times will not help you improve your coordination. If you practice by playing a lot then you should be able to get really good at it.
Jumping rope is difficult because you need to get a lot of muscles to work together. You need to match your jumping timing and power with your hand movements. I jumped rope to burn a lot of calories. At first I was terrible at but I improved with practice. Now even if I keep changing the pace I can do it for a while without messing up. If you don't have a jump rope you might want to get one. It is one of the best ways to burn a lot of calories and it can make your bones stronger. I got one from Walmart.
When people workout they often focus on becoming more powerful. They focus on increasing their strength and endurance while neglecting things like balance, flexibility and coordination. So they end up being big, strong, clumsy and stiff. If they focus on burning calories then they often end up lean, clumsy and stiff. I was running, biking and lifting weights but it did not make me more coordinated or flexible than I was before I started exercising regularly. To improve my balance, flexibility and coordination I had to do exercises that required good balance, flexibility or coordination.
© 2014 Michael H