Manual Dexterity and Coordination

Magicians have marvelous finger and hand dexterity. Some can cut a deck of
cards while holding it in one hand. Some can roll a quarter in a flipping fashion on
the back of one hand. Houdini could pick locks easily with a thin wire in one hand or
even with his toes without looking at the lock. Manual dexterity and good
coordination simply takes practice. For instance, practice with one hand buttoning or
unbuttoning your shirt, putting on or taking off your clothes, tying your shoelaces,
opening screw-cap bottles, etc.
Many thalidomide babies born without arms lead very full lives. Some are
musicians and play instruments with their feet. Some are artists and paint by gripping
the brush with their teeth or feet. Everyday chores are undertaken with amazing toe
dexterity. With your bare feet, practice picking up handkerchiefs, pencils, small balls
or other objects. Flip a beanbag from one foot to the other, using your toes or your
heel, and switching from front shots to hind shots.
As an exercise in becoming more dexterous with your left hand, strap your right
thumb to the inside of your palm with adhesive tape. Now proceed through an hour
of using your left hand for normal right hand functions. Next, have both thumbs
strapped to your palms and proceed through the next hour using only your fingers to
stir coffee, to turn on lights and to do other activities.
As an exercise in coordination, hold your hands out in front of you with your
palms facing you. Now individually bend each finger without bending the others.
Next, hold your right hand out in front of you and make a V by separating your ring
finger and little finger on one side, and your middle finger and index finger on the
other. Now hold both hands in front of you, but hold your left hand in the V-shape
and your right hand with your index finger separated from your middle finger and
your little finger separated from your ring finger to make two V's. Now
simultaneously switch and alternate the single V-hand with the double V-hand back
and forth. It can often help if you mentally visualize this exercise beforehand.
All drills of this nature increase neural connections and brain usage in varied
ways. When these drills can be done successfully and without fatigue, you know
you have mastered them.