People crowding the electronics stores for a glance at the scores on the television sets

Minimal traffic on the roads during the last overs with palpable anxiety in the air

People asking random strangers ‘What’s the score’ on buses and trains

And giving you dirty looks lest you dare give them an ignorant blank stare!

That is when you know that Cricket Fever has gripped the nation and the eyes of the entire nation are on the red ball. With the IPL going on, Indians are once again entranced by the sport that is no less than a Religion – Cricket.

While Cricket has been criticised by some as the game where eleven fools play and eleven hundred watch; it is equally true that Cricket is not without its health benefits. Yes, playing Cricket is actually good for your eyes! The most important health benefit of all is an increase in hand eye coordination.

Hand eye coordination is the ability of a person to make use of what is being looked at by his eyes so as to direct his hands to move or react. Hand eye coordination helps the eyes to provide the target for our hands, keep them on track, and watch ahead for other problems that may develop… all this without any conscious thought!


How does hand eye coordination help?

Hand eye coordination is very important for everything from combing our hair to walking. It improves our reaction times especially in dangerous situations like jumping out of the way of a speeding car. It improves speed and increases productivity at work as it helps one do tasks without having to stop and think.

While aging can slow down hand eye coordination, it is not always inevitable. Diseases like Optic Ataxia, Blaint’s and Parkinson’s are some diseases that cause loss of hand eye coordination. Apart from diseases, Lack of Stimulation and Inactivity play a major role in older people losing hand eye coordination.


What can one do to improve one’s hand eye coordination?

Simple exercises like dribbling a ball, mixed with catching and throwing (even your favourite video game) will help keep one’s hand eye coordination in fit shape. Zinc in diet (whole grains, sunflower seeds, nuts and almonds) is also supposed to be of help.

For those who wish to wish to impress their friends while playing gully cricket, this exercise can be extended to catching a ball while running to sharpen one’s skills further.

For those who are already active in sports or simply wish to really sharpen their hand eye coordination, they can move on to the third stage of exercises where they focus on hand to eye coordination when using a cricket bat or tennis racket or hockey stick. This will help fine tune the differences that exist between coordination needed in the acts of throwing vs. hitting / catching a ball vs. hitting it.

So go ahead, enjoy the IPL. And enjoy your gully cricket. Not only will it help your kids develop their hand eye coordination, it will also give us adults a chance to refresh skills lost over the years. Keep your eyes on the ball!