Hand-Eye Coordination: The Off Ice Key to On Ice Success
Over the past few months I’ve seen more and more people looking for help improving their hand-eye coordination. In addition, this past summer at Legends Camp, I also found that a lot of goalies can improve their game ten fold by practicing their hand-eye coordination off the ice both in their downtime and pregame.
The thing about improving hand-eye coordination is that it seems so simple; yet, the results are so great. This off ice work can be the difference between you being able to improve your reflexes enough to make that extra save and potentially steal a game for the boys. Just a few drills a day, while not physically taxing, can make such a big difference in improving your hand-eye coordination and your puck tracking.
Let’s take a look at a few different drills you guys can use to improve your hand-eye coordination. All you need are a set of 3 tennis balls, or 3 racquet balls if you’re up for the challenge. Here’s a list of the basic drills that you can do as often as you want to improve your game.
- Wall Ball
- This is just your basic tossing the ball against the wall and WATCHING it all the way into your hands/body. Start by tossing the ball at an easy pace against the wall and as you get more confident, throw the ball harder. The key to this drill is making sure you watch the ball all the way into your hands/body. That way, you are actively practicing both hand-eye and watching the ball. This will translate onto the ice and eventually you will be tracking pucks into your body like a pro.
- Double Wall Ball
- This is just a spin off of wall ball, but this works your peripheral vision as well. The key to this is making sure you actually catch the balls. Don’t push yourself, in terms of throwing the balls too hard/fast. If you can’t catch both balls, don’t throw it any faster.
- Switch hand ball bounce
- This drill seems pretty simple at first glance, but it can actually be difficult the faster you do it. Basically, all you’re really doing is bouncing the ball from one hand to the other, as fast as you can. The key is to, again, keep your eye on the ball and track the ball from one hand to the other.
- Double switch hand ball bounce
- This drill is the same thing as the switch hand ball bounce except now you’re using two different balls. This is similar to the double wall ball, in the sense that you are using your peripheral vision as well. Again, make sure you’re tracking as much as possible.
- Obviously, this is something that is a very difficult feat. Juggling takes a lot of practice and some great hand-eye coordination as well. If you can juggle, you can catch a puck. That’s kind of just a fact.
Since I know most of you aren’t really readers and probably want to see the all these drills in action, take a look at this YouTube video of a young goalie doing all these drills. He’s young, but his hand eye is clearly great. Here’s the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NS_IZ1iaP64.
Make sure you guys are doing some hand-eye coordination drills a few days a week, whether you’re doing it during the commercial break while watching TV or in the garage while you’re getting your beach body swell on, hand-eye saves games.
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