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The importance of hand-eye coordination

Having good hand eye coordination is an essential and fundamental element of all sports. The skills needed to attain such coordination are often referred to as “object control skills” which can include throwing, dribbling, catching, and kicking or striking both stationary and moving objects. There is growing evidence of the importance of these skills in recent research, and how early introduction can help children become active and engaged in sport.

A great research paper that came out of the Czech Republic, Vlado Balaban (2018), concluded that fundamental skills are essential factors in the participation of children not only in organised sport, but also in free-time physical activity. The research also suggested that when it came to object control, boys showed enhanced proficiency, simply because they spent more time playing ball games in which such skills were developed.

One Canadian study by D.P Sheehan et al. (2020) suggested that a person’s level of object control skills is highly related to adolescent participation and that such participation can also be a measure for lifelong physical activity. This study implemented a 6-week intervention study just for girls which resulted in a levelling of skill level between the genders.

The results of the 6-week intervention study showed crucially, that improvement can be made in quite a short time. The girls in the study were also able to retrain the skills they learnt suggesting that it is never too late to introduce new learning patterns, but that the early introduction can be invaluable to establish lifelong benefits.

Capio & Eguia (2020) also concluded from their study that object control skill proficiency had a positive effect on perceived physical competence and led to children being more active. This study was carried out on very young children (4-6 years old) but again supports the significance of hand-eye coordination and how important it can be when trying to help children enjoy sport.

Hand-eye has always been one of the main three focuses at Bear Essentials. We have seen first-hand how quickly and easily these skills can be developed in young children and the confidence gained from these improvements.

We believe that parents have a great opportunity to help their child develop the right skills by getting involved with their child’s activities in a positive way. As we’ve stated previously, parental involvement helps to enhance the importance of the activity to your child as well as being a great way to bond and engage with your child. The beauty of the Bear Essential hand-eye exercises is that they are challenging, easy to adapt, and great fun.

Throwing and catching a ball; might sound a simple activity, but with imagination and a variety of games it can include a wide set of skills that children love doing with their parents.

As always, our top tip for any exercise with children is to keep things light hearted (not over competitive), short and as fun as possible. If you see or think your child is switching off, try and involve them in inventing something new, or quit while you are ahead. Remember to be as encouraging as possible and promote effort over outcome. Making mistakes is the best way for children to learn so let them know it’s alright not to be able to do something yet; ‘let’s try again!’

If you are struggling for ideas, then our App has plenty of specially designed hand-eye exercises that you can try together. We encourage discovery together as parent and child as much as possible.

For more tips on up-skilling your children or best ways to use our App please check out our website.

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