If you play sports, you will benefit from improving your reaction time. A fast reaction time can make a vast difference to your performance and results. Let’s discuss what we mean by reaction time and how you can begin to improve your reaction time.
What is Reaction Time?
Reaction time is the speed at which your brain responds to stimuli. A fast reaction time is beneficial in many different sports and activities, such as tennis, racing, baseball, badminton, cricket, squash, and boxing.
Your central and peripheral nervous systems control your reaction time. When you sense a stimulus, such as a ball, punch, or starting gun, neurons send a signal from your eyes to your brain. The central nervous system processes the signal and decides how to react. The brain sends a message via neurons to the muscles, telling them what to do. The speed at which this process happens is your reaction time.
How to Improve Reaction Time
Let’s look at some activities and exercises that you can do to help improve your reaction time and performance.
1: Plyometric Training
Plyometrics help you to develop explosive strength, which in turn benefits your ability to change direction quickly. Squat jumps, ski lunges, jump rope, and clap pushups are all examples of plyometric exercises.
2: Sound Signal Reaction
If you are a competitor in any type of race signaled by a sound, this activity will help develop your sound signal reaction. Get a friend to use a loud noise such as a whistle to signal you to sprint. Your partner should make the noise at irregular intervals out of your line of sight so that you have to react to the sound. With practice, your reaction speed will increase.
3: Ball Catching
This exercise helps with sports that involve catching a ball. Have a friend drop a ball from shoulder height. You need to sprint and catch the ball before it bounces a second time. Your partner should change their position frequently so that you have to move in different directions.
4: Ball Control
This exercise is beneficial for sports where you move while maintaining control of a ball and avoiding other players, such as basketball and football. Run fast while controlling the ball, and have a friend shout out directional commands. Your reaction and subsequent change of direction will increase with practice, improving your performance in the sport.
Improving your reaction times can be beneficial for many different types of sport. Following the exercises above regularly will help you increase your results and performance and make your reaction times much faster.