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What is Coordination?

Coordination is essential during a swimmer's workout.
The game of golf requires coordination.
Video games may improve hand and eye response.
Physical activities like hiking may help people develop coordination skills.
Juggling requires coordination.
A musician must have coordination skills.
The game of archery requires coordination.
Coordination is important in the game of basketball.
Playing table tennis requires a lot of coordination.
Throwing a baseball requires a great deal of coordination.
Hand-eye coordination is a key in racquetball.
Coordination plays a significant role in a baseball player's ability to hit a ball.
Tennis players with high levels of coordination can pick up new skills quite easily.
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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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Coordination is the process where the body’s neurons and limbs work together to produce movement. This is a highly complicated process that most people do effortlessly. For most people, the act of tying a shoe or standing up is done with no conscious thought at all.

While coordination is used to describe the highly complex way that humans move, most people mean something different when they talk about it. The term is traditionally used to describe balance and reaction time. It also refers to a person’s ability to remain on his or her feet or move with little effort.

This type of movement is important for anyone interested in athletic pursuits, whether they are a professional athlete or a weekend warrior. It is the skill that allows a baseball player to hit a fast ball, a basketball player to block a shot, or a swimmer to shave off time when executing a perfect flip turn. Recreational golfers and tennis players with high levels of coordination can pick up and retain skills more easily than their less coordinated counterparts.

While everyone is born with their own, individual level, it is possible for people to increase their skills. Certain exercises will not only improve their ability in sports, but they will also reduce risks associated with aging, such as stumbling and falling. Devoting some time each day to these exercises can provide a tremendous benefit both on the athletic field and in life.

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Games that require a tremendous amount of hand-eye development are great for increasing coordination. Table tennis and racquetball are both games that require high levels of these skills. There are also computer games that provide commands on the screen that the player must respond and react to, and these are also beneficial. In fact, researchers have found that many types of video games improve hand and eye response.

Physical activities, such as hiking on uneven trails, are a good way for people to make themselves more coordinated. When a person walks on level pavement all the time, his body gets used to the lack of resistance. On bumpy or uneven trails, the body must react to the changes in elevation and compensate. This type of activity is vital for improving balance and reaction.

Coordination is a skill, and like any skill, it can be improved. Investing some time in exercises will allow individuals to reap big rewards. People who don’t feel the need to improve for athletic reasons should consider the age-defying benefits.

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seag47
Post 8

For me, roller skating was the best exercise in coordination I could ever have done. I started out really rough and shaky, but within a few hours, my skills were beginning to surface.

The process of learning exactly when and how to pick up or move your feet on wheels while balancing yourself with your upper body and arm movements really trains your muscles to work with your brain. Since the consequence of not doing it right is falling and getting hurt, your mind realizes that your safety is at stake, and it jumps into high gear.

In just a few sessions of skating with friends, I became good enough to not use the railings for support anymore. Eventually, I learned to squat and skate, and I even learned to skate backward. My coordination level improved with each new trick.

StarJo
Post 7

@lighth0se33 - I know that Nintendo helped me develop coordination as well! I liked playing a two-player on Dr. Mario with my dad to add to the challenge. With competition, I think my skills developed even more.

I also played Super Mario Brothers 1, 2, and 3, and I believe these games were great tools as well. Having to determine the exact correct moment to jump on a mushroom, and having to learn precisely how long to hold a certain button to jump over a chasm or fly through the air was at first a challenge. Once grasped, it became a skill as instinctive as riding a bike.

lighth0se33
Post 6

I credit the original Nintendo system with my great coordination skills. Two games that I played frequently as a youngster helped me develop good reflexes and placement skills.

The first is Tetris. I had to place segments of blocks together in such a way as to melt entire horizontal lines of blocks before they built up on the screen and blocked the entrance. As the game progresses, the segments fall faster, and you have to react more quickly.

The second is Dr. Mario. Operating by the same concept as Tetris, you have to melt rows of colored germs by placing the same color pills on top of them. The higher the level, the faster the pills fall into the jar of germs, and the shorter your time frame for reacting correctly.

cloudel
Post 5

When I was a child in elementary school, we were forced to take physical education classes, otherwise known as gym. I didn’t like it because some of the exercises required more flexible limbs than I had, but there was one exercise involving coordination that I excelled at.

We had to lift up one knee and stand on one leg while holding one arm extended horizontally. That was the starting position. At the command of the coach, we had to move those arms and legs to different positions without losing our balance. I was always one of the last ones left standing.

w00dchuck41
Post 4

@Calvin77 - Laser hockey is definitely a good choice for improving hand-eye co-ordination -- pretty much any hands-on sort of game is.

For little kids, I know that building with blocks, coloring and the piano are all good for building co-ordination. It might seem simple but if they play a lot -- and most kids do -- they will build their co-ordination skills quickly.

Dancing is also a great coordination building game for kids. Just turn on their favorite songs and teach them how to boogie. Better yet, use a TV show that they like. Kids like to do what their favorite show character is doing and it gives them a exact example to imitate without you having to keep up.

Calvin77
Post 3

@manykitties2 - Yes, it's nice to see video games that require a little more than slumping on a couch. Between the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft's Kinect -- kids that play video games have better hand-eye co-ordination than they've had in decades. Coordination exercises like yoga are a little dull for the new short-attention generations. Video games can at least keep their attention longer.

I play badminton myself. Having to move your whole body toward the birdy takes a lot of coordination and actually hitting the birdy fast enough takes more. I also play a lot of laser hockey at the arcade with my kids – which requires an immense amount of hand and eye coordination.

manykitties2
Post 2

Since video games have actually been proven to help improve your hand to eye coordination, I wonder if the new motion sensor controllers and cam controlled games are doing even more?

I recently saw a video game controller that could read your movements through a camera mounted on top of your television. To be this seemed like an amazing way to improve your coordination. Having to touch and hit things on screen at a quick pace must do wonders for not only your flexibility, but your overall health. I really think that as video games encourage more activity we'll get a better handle on the weight issues our country is facing.

Sara007
Post 1

Improving your children's coordination is a good idea and you can get started even when they are quite young. Putting your kids in sports that require a lot of coordination and muscle control is a great idea. It not only keeps your kids healthy and fit but also helps improve their overall abilities.

For my kids I chose martial arts because the sport focused not only on muscle control through complex katas, but it also helped them learn self-defense and self-control. I think these are invaluable skills for young people to have. Plus I found it boosted my kids confidence levels way up. They are much outgoing now that they go to the dojo on a regular basis.

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