What is a Reflex Ball?
A reflex ball is a specially designed ball intended for use in a reflex training workout. There are several different types of reflex balls produced to aid in training for different sports activities, as well as balls specifically geared toward developing hand-eye coordination. A sports training reflex ball is ordinarily designed with several projecting sides, usually round in shape, that causes it to bounce unpredictably. On the other hand, hand-eye coordination balls are often attached to a string like a yo-yo and are thrown, controlled by the string, and returned to the hand. These balls are especially helpful in developing a child's hand-eye coordination.
Reflex training forces athletes to respond to unpredictable situations quickly to prepare them for the contingent occurrences of games. The projecting sides of a ball designed for a reflex workout, usually six in number, cause the ball to bounce irregularly. As a result, when an athlete bounces the ball, she or he is forced to react to the unexpected direction in which the ball bounces. Working with a reflex ball of this type encourages athletes to develop their reflexes in response to the unpredictable movements of the ball.
Bouncing reflex balls are produced in a variety of sizes to aid in preparation for different sports. Smaller balls result in faster bounces, which makes them useful workout tools in training for sports such as tennis, hand ball, and baseball. Using a six-sided reflex ball for tennis practice forces an athlete to react to situations in which she or he is unable to predict the direction the ball will take when hit, whether by herself or himself or by an opponent. Such training assists players in quickening reflex time and hand-eye coordination to prepare for the contingencies of the game itself.
Larger bouncing reflex balls are designed to function well in reflex training for basketball, soccer, and volleyball, among other sports. Regardless of the sport in question, reflex balls can assist in the development of hand-eye coordination and body reflexes. Reflex balls that are attached to a string are especially useful for working on a child's hand-eye coordination. These balls are attached to the wrist with a string and controlled by the string when thrown. Maneuvering the ball so that it finds its way back into the thrower's hand focuses on the relationship between the hand and the eye and forces the body to react to any direction the ball may take.
As an umpire I have seen many games lost and errors committed by young players who do not adjust to the bounces well. Many kids will anticipate that the ball will bounce in a straight line to them as soon as it is hit, and will usually believe that the bounces the ball takes will be consistent on each bounce. That is why it is important to teach young players to make quick adjustments to the batted ball and always keep a steady base and remain alert to the movements of the ball.
I have seen so many young players take for granted watching the ball all the way into their glove. I have utilized the reflex ball and actually used it more in some practices, on a gym floor, more often than hitting actual ground balls to the kids. It is important for the kids to take many, many groundballs in order to improve their fielding, but the reflex ball is vital in helping the kids develop the reflex skills needed to adjust to tough hops and consistently field basic ground balls.
Many coaches take for granted how many games are lost because of poor fielding. That is why a major emphasis should be taken on providing infield practice to kids and the development of their fielding skills. The reflex ball is a very effective tool in developing their hand eye coordination with their glove and adjustment of their feet to properly field the ball.
@Izzy78 - I agree completely. As a player I practiced quite a bit with a coach throwing the baseball reflex ball at me and it greatly improved my defense. When someone throws the reflex ball at you, it will go in your general direction, but you will not know which way it will go for to get to you. It is designed to teach you to stay on your toes and not take for granted watching the ball all the way into your glove. Simple mistakes could cost your team a victory and I highly recommend that a reflex ball be utilized by any coach at any level when practicing with players.
From a coaching perspective using a reflex ball is vital in improving the fielding skills of a young baseball player. A reflex ball, that is designed for baseball, is shaped in such a way that it is impossible to know which direction it will go. Because of the design of the ball, the player has to be prepared for it to go anywhere and follow it all the way into their glove, something that many players, amateur and professional, take for granted sometimes.
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