Eye - hand coordination is defined as coordinated control of eye movement with hand movement and the processing of visual input to guide reaching and grasping along with the use of proprioception of the hands to guide the eyes.
We use our eyes to direct attention to a stimulus and help the brain understand where the body is located in space. We use our hands to simultaneously carry-out a determined task based on the visual information our eyes receive.
Eye-hand coordination is especially important for child development and academic success but is also an important skill that adults use on a daily basis. Drawing, keyboarding (typing), handwriting, texting, eating, sewing, sports play (especially tennis, basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, etc.) and video gaming to name a few examples.
Having perfect vision doesn’t ensure good eye-hand coordination, it’s when they have to use both visual and motor systems together that it becomes apparent. Difficulties in vision such as strabismus or amblyopia; muscular issues such as hypotonia, balance problems, or damage to muscular areas; damage to perceptive areas may all cause problems with eye-hand coordination.
To improve eye-hand coordination like other cognitive skills, there may be improvement with training and practice. Within Physical Education classes we often see elementary aged students struggle to coordinate their movements such as catching and throwing a ball, tagging a player, grasp an object, bounce a ball, hitting a ball with a hand or bat, target toss, and tracking a ball to pick it up. We spend many units practicing skills or playing fun activities that enhance eye-hand coordination. Many students just want to play “real” sports games when they come to us but it is so important to get in the training before a sport to enhance the skills needed. Even high school students can use refresher activities before they begin game play. Often we train with sport specific activities given the unit. For example in basketball, practice catching and throwing bounce or chest passes, changing direction while dribbling and shooting at the basket receiving the ball from various passes, a dribble or from a stationary position. While many students can find some skills challenging the best way to keep them practicing is to break down the skills until the student is successful and always keep it fun and interesting.