Spatial awareness is how well you’re able to sense the location and position of your body in relation to your physical surroundings. Being spatially aware means you have a sense of spacing, timing and direction and it directly impacts your performance during sports and other athletic movements. You’re able to trap, dribble and kick a soccer ball better when you have a sense of where your feet are in relation to the ball. When playing basketball, you sense where to position yourself to be open for a pass. Being able to do a flip or cartwheel in gymnastics requires the ability to sense where the body is in relation to the floor.
Components of Spatial Awareness
Your ability to be spatially aware is dependent on a number sensory systems. Your visual system allows you to see and thus visually perceive your physical surroundings. Your vestibular system, centered at the inner ear, sends information on your balance and body positioning. Your proprioceptive system features sensors located at your joints and muscles that provide feedback on positioning. When these sensory systems work together, you’re able to maintain balance even while moving and to react quickly to changes in your environment.
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