Earlier this week, I filmed a short clip of a homemade reaction ball. Long time readers of the site may recall seeing the ball before. I first referenced this hand-eye coordination tool back in 2012. At the time, I mentioned how former world champion Kostya Tszyu was often seen training with a similar device (ex. see here). More recently, fighters such as Vasyl Lomachenko have once again popularized the tool. With that in mind, I will use this entry to discuss how you can quickly and inexpensively make a reaction ball for yourself.
Reaction Ball Training Demo
To begin, you can see a brief demonstration of the ball below. It’s a tremendous tool to challenge your reactions and hand-eye coordination.
To create your own reaction ball, you’ll first need to gather up a few items.
- Tennis ball
- Knit elastic cord
The elastic cord that I use is 3/8 of an inch thick. Here’s a link to the exact product courtesy of Amazon. It’s worth noting that you’ll likely pay less at a local fabric store however. I purchased my cord at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft for less than 2 dollars.
It should only take a few minutes to put the pieces together. The step that seems to confuse people is how to attach the cord to the tennis ball. Fortunately, it is quite simple.
First, I use a long, thin screwdriver to puncture a hole through the tennis ball. I do this without the cord. I then attach the elastic cord to the screwdriver with duct tape. Next, I guide the screwdriver and cord back through the small hole that I’ve already created. You can see an example of that below.
Once the cord is driven through both ends of the ball, you will remove the tape and tie a knot at the end. The knot prevents the cord from slipping back through ball.
Lastly, you need to determine how long the cord should be to provide an adequate rebound. In the video above, the cord is approximately 21 inches (between the hat and the ball). I don’t cut the cord at 21 inches however. Instead, I wrap a few inches of cord around the hat just in case extra length is needed. I then knot and tape the cord to the hat.
Naturally, it’s quite simple to either lengthen or shorten the cord as needed.
If you’ve never used a reaction ball, I would only start with a few minutes at a time. Although a tennis ball isn’t solid, striking one repeatedly can lead to knuckle soreness if the hands aren’t adequately conditioned.
In addition, the reaction ball can be quite frustrating to beginners. It’s one of those tools that is more difficult to use than it may initially appear. It’s actually rare for an athlete to be proficient with the tool on their first try.
Throughout this blog’s history, I have made a point to emphasize the importance of hand-eye coordination training. The reaction ball is certainly useful in this regard. A few minutes each day can lead to considerable improvements. An added plus is that the ball is fun to use. And as you become more proficient, you can mix in a variety of punches. You can also move the feet (ex. front, back, and side to side). There’s always a simple way to make the tool more challenging. Therefore, it’s something that you’ll never outgrow.
In summary, if you have additional questions about making or using the reaction ball, feel free to email me or comment below.
“Creativity is a drug I cannot live without” – Cecil B. DeMille