Dedicated gamers understand that gaming requires hand movement in order to play. Or, some people who aren’t gamers but like to play here and there know this requirement too.
Whether it’s clicking a mouse a bunch of times or pressing down buttons on a controller, a lot of focus and muscle movement goes on during a game.
But, how do you play if you have shaky hands due to an underlying cause?
Possible reasons for shaky hands are very broad. Some people have a neurological condition such as essential tremor or are dealing with anxiety that shows up in trembling hands from adrenaline.
Others are dealing with certain kinds of diseases that may interfere with an involuntary movement, thus reducing the ability to game. Roughly 49% of people in the
US play video games on a PC and is more prominent for people with disabilities.
Here, this article will dive into a breakdown of helpful tactics to calm down shaky hands enough to play an online game on the computer or video station.
No matter your skill level or intensity of shaking hands, keep reading for valuable tips to lessen video game frustration on your next gaming experience.
Ways to Stop Shaky Hands While Gaming
1. Turn the Sensitivity Down on the Console (Low Sensitivity)
This tip is for gamers using an Xbox or PlayStation where you have to connect the console to the television.
Sometimes, if the sensitivity is high, any slight movements can affect what you’re doing in the video game. Thus, increasing players frustration when dealing with a shaking hand gaming.
By turning the sensitivity down, it will enable you to have more control and only pick up on bigger movements to direct you to where you want to go or do.
Here’s a video illustrating how gamers with shaky hands play with significantly low sensitivity.
2. Adjust Mouse Acceleration (or Avoid It Completely)
If a mouse is too hard to use with shaky hands, avoid this tip completely. Keep reading if you use a mouse but would like tips on how to use it more effectively.
A participant told ability net (a company that helps disabled people) that she had trouble with double-clicking the mouse and wasn’t able to use the mouse precisely.
This was due to having a tremor that interfered with her hand movement ability.
Ability net convinced her that changing the settings of the mouse to make it a bit slower will increase the likelihood of getting accurate results.
This user study showed that slowing down the mouse acceleration helped the participant make her mouse movements more accurate, including double-clicking.
There is an alternative mouse that could aid clicking ability with people struggling with hand shakiness due to a neurological, or underlying condition.
Amazon carries an Optical Mouse that is ergonomic and fits your hand comfortably. The vertical grip keeps your hand at a neutral level. It includes an optical sensor with one button and a soft-touch surface for optimal comfort.
If you have trouble clicking with your thumb, this product may not be for you.
3. Adaptive Gaming Keypad
An adaptive gamepad can be a great alternative to holding a controller shaky hands are not equipped well for, in terms of thumb motor skills and grip.
The gamepad is placed on a desk and is essentially a hub where it can connect to a broad set of devices that can trigger every button found on an Xbox controller or
Windows game that connects to a conventional controller.
Due to limited hand mobility due to shaking hands, use a gaming keypad if using a controller is too difficult.
This keypad is called the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
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4. Large Mouse Pad
Having a large mouse pad is an excellent adaptive for those with shaky hands. Especially if you’re gaming on a computer, you don’t know how much movement you’re going to need to succeed in a game.
You don’t have to worry about the mouse falling off the pad if your hands are shaking and interrupting your focus.
Lastly, it provides enough space for mouse gliding if you need to make big movements. The width of mousepads is typically longer, so you may need to buy a mouse pad with long vertical material for extra space.
An extra tip is to ensure your computer space is ergonomic. If your mouse pad is large, that can help aid tremor movement, but you’ll be fighting more muscle fatigue if your chair is uncomfortable.
Amazon carries a Large Mouse Pad that is equipped with non-slip, rubber material for extra sturdiness for your mouse movements. It includes durable stitched edges and an ultra-smooth surface for easy gliding.
5. Have a Tea or Calming Supplement
If you have an anxiety disorder like the majority of the world, drink tea with theanine to bring a sense of relaxation over you while you game.
Having high blood pressure can cause shakiness of the hands. Therefore, drinking tea with theanine can lower your blood pressure and results in lowering excessive stress and anxiety. To monitor your BP use a blood pressure monitor.
CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) suggests doing deep breathing for relaxation regulation in combination with a calming supplement or anti-anxiety medication (if one is prescribed it).
Controlled breathing is proven to tailor stress management within a particular task. Before gaming, perform box breathing. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, and exhale for four seconds, and then hold for four seconds. Then repeat a couple of times until you feel relaxed.
Deep breathing also lowers blood pressure and calms the nervous system.
Another study showed relaxation levels increase within 40 minutes of taking an oral intake of theanine.
To sum, drink a tea about 40 minutes before gaming to reap the relaxation benefits. While you’re waiting for it to kick in, practice box breathing to prevent shaky hands or to cope with the condition.
Amazon carries Theanine supplements that promote relaxation and calm without causing drowsiness.
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6. Use a Wii Controller (if Condition Doesn’t Impede Thumb Ability)
Since a Wii controller requires a lot of arm movement and minimum button clicking, this controller can be a great gaming match for those with shaking hands. As a bonus, it has a wristband for security.
Especially in the game Mario Kart, you turn the controller horizontally and hold down one button.
As opposed to an Xbox controller, this is the best alternative. This is because an Xbox controller requires lots of button clicking that may not be ideal for someone dealing with involuntary shaking during a game.
If it’s too difficult to press buttons by a tremor affecting motor skills, buy a Wii game that requires more movement instead of button clicking. Better yet, play a two-player game and get the other player to press buttons to get the game started.
Amazon carries a Wii Remote with no motion plus, a low sensitivity feature that is perfect for shaky hands. The silicone case provides excellent ergonomic comfort.
7. Stretch and Lessen the Strength of the Grip
The most important thing for your hands to stop shaking is to stretch your muscles, such as your wrist and fingers to relax the contracting nerves and tendons.
Simply pull your fingers back with the opposing hand and hold for a couple of seconds. For an added stretch, pull your fingers back specifically focusing on your fingertips so they bend backward.
Or, you can interlock your fingers and straighten your arms in front of you as an alternative.
This will help increase the blood flow, thus increasing flexibility and deliver more nutrients to your muscles that may be shaking. (Low blood sugar is a symptom of shaky hands too, and affects blood flow)
It also removes metabolic waste (i.e carbon dioxide) ammonia and uric acid. Having an excess amount of carbon dioxide in the blood is a vital contributor to developing a neurological disease such as essential tremors.
Therefore, stretching not only can stop a tremor during gaming, but it also increases flexibility by strengthening your hand muscles for daily hand movements. The same goes for those artists with shaky hands.
Holding something too tightly can significantly increase fatigue of the muscle. It is a common misconception that increasing the strength of the hold will give you more stability in a given task.
It does the opposite, which slows you down from tiring out your hand. By lessening the grip, it can give you more energy to move while having the same amount of sturdiness but only makes you go faster.
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8. Play More “Turning” Games
By playing turning games, it’s easier to deal with shakiness when there is less need for pressing buttons as the focus is more on turning movements.
An alternative to Mario Kart is another racing game either online or on a game console. Shakiness can also be caused by anxiety or adrenaline.
Racing games can be anxiety-inducing. However, when you’re in the flow of moving by turning, it’s less threatening than if you were playing a fighting-based game where you have to kill off the other players.
Thus, when you’re in the flow your anxiety lessens, and your hand shakiness can lessen with it.
Amazon has a Wii Racing Wheel to attach a Wii console for realistic driving. It is compatible with any Wii racing game with two wheels included. Optimize your fun with this fun driving tool.
9. Acceleration Sensing Glove
Beam Band’s wrist-worn system uses ultrasonic beam forming for hand gesture sensing.
By sensing your hand movement, you can tell whether an activity is too difficult sensory wise if you have shaking hands.
This system uses an array of small transmitters, arranged on the wrist. It can group acoustic wavefronts to project energy at different angles and focal lengths.
This allows you to see the hand from multiple views.
As a result, the wave reflections recognize the hand positioning stability. In a user study, the results found that Beam Band’s gesture set has 94.6% accuracy.
When the sensor is removed and worn again later, the remaining accuracy was high at 89.4%. The company predicts that the software will integrate into future devices such as VR controllers for gaming.
Another software this company developed is an acceleration sensing glove. This glove is made out of 2-axis sensing components on the fingertips and back of the hand.
The developed software allows the glove to be used as a mouse pointing device for a Windows 95 or NT machine for gaming.
By using gravity-induced 2-axis acceleration offsets, you are able to identify the accuracy of virtual hand gesture movements.
The Bottom Line
Having a tremor or shaky hands due to stress and anxiety can interfere with gaming. To some, gaming is an important aspect of their lives.
To ease shaky hands when gaming, follow these steps or buy products that may be extremely helpful in aiding hand mobility.
Deep breathing and drinking tea may not help those with diseases to stop their shaking. However, stretching is beneficial for all conditions as it helps to increase blood flow and stop hands from excessively shaking. If interested, we wrote a separate article on how to treat shaky hands at home.
Comment below if you struggle with shaky hands during gaming and let us know if these tips were helpful to you. Share with anyone you know who would benefit from these given gaming mobility tips.