Friday, April 28th, 2017
Every week a football announcer will proclaim that one wide receiver or another has “good hands”. What does he mean by that? Is there any truth to the assertion? Can someone actually be blessed with physically superior hands that let them excel in sport?
Of course they can. When you’re trying to catch something, big hands are good hands. When a tight end goes up in the air, catches the football one-handed, and is able to control it he is benefiting from a big palm, long fingers, and strong flexor muscles. When you’re 6’ 5” your hands are going to be proportionately larger, and when you’re very strong your muscles are going to be able to squeeze the ball tight after your long fingers wrap around it.
What the description “good hands” really implies, though, is a skill set separate from the anatomy of the hand. An athlete with good hands has the eye-hand coordination necessary to follow the incoming ball, plot its trajectory, and anticipate any changes in its line of flight. He can do all of this while running at full speed, fighting off defenders, and following a pre-ordained route. Not only that, he catches the ball off-balance and knows that as soon as he secures the ball he is subject to punishing hit from the defender intended to dislodge the ball, hurt him physically, and leave such a negative impression that he will be discouraged from making the next reception when he has the chance.
So yes, good hands do exist, but a pair of good hands is certainly not enough to get you onto game day.
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