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Printed at: 11:59:32 / 18-04-2021

Ball Skills

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Try to develop a consistent throwing action. Work on under-arm throws first.

• Practise throwing beanbags or similar objects into a box / bin.
• Start with a large box nearby.
• Move box further away.
• Try smaller box.
• Place 3 or 4 boxes round the room.
• Practice throwing different distances and directions.

Try aiming for a target on the wall. A large circle of paper stuck with blue tack is ideal.
• Start nearby. Use a ball or beanbag. Progress by moving away. Can you still hit the target?

Repeat using over-arm throw.
• Try knocking down skittles.
• Coconut shy.
• Throwing to a partner.

Hand-eye co-ordination
To catch a ball successfully good hand-eye co-ordination is essential.
Can you follow a moving object with your eyes?
• Sit at a table opposite a partner. Roll a marble or small ball to each other. Stop it with your hand then roll back.
• Start slowly. Speed up. Vary the direction.
• Take it in turns to roll marble individually from right to left hand and back.
• Take hands further and further apart. Turn head to follow the marble. Sit at opposite ends of the room.
• Roll a large ball to partner across the floor.
• Slowly at first then faster.
• Stop ball with hands then roll back.
• Try smaller balls. Try one hand then the other.
• Try using a bat. Empty plastic bottles or cardboard tubes are ideal.

Can you hit the rolling ball and return to your partner? How many times?

Balloon games
Balloons are very brightly coloured and move more slowly than balls.
• Play hitting a balloon up in the air with your hand. How many times can you hit it up in the air before it falls?
• Play with a partner.
• Tie your balloon to a piece of string. Ask your partner to hold the string. How many times can you tap it away and watch it return? Take turns.
• Use your hand then a bat.
• Get your partner to drop a balloon from above their heads. Can you catch it?
• Throw a balloon to each other. Catch and return.

Hand closure / timing
To catch well you must shut your hand around the ball at the correct moment. This must be timed for the precise second the object reaches the hand.
• Clapping games help improve timing.
• Clap slowly, quickly, to a rhythm.
• Clap to command. How quickly can you respond with a clap?

Next, progress to hand closure with 2 hands.
• Palms upwards. Open and shut fingers tightly 10 times.
• Drop a beanbag onto up-turned hands. Shut hands around it as it hits hands. Progress to using 1 hand.
• Play squeezing / strengthening games with stress ball or play-dough.
• Squash stress ball in hand. Release. Repeat.

Start with 2 handed catch from short distance apart. Begin with a balloon, beanbag, large soft ball or koosh.
• Progress to smaller balls and further away as confidence grows.
• Accurate throw.
• Correct distance and force.
• Follow object with eyes.
• Judge speed so that hands are ready to close at correct time. Repeat with 1 hand.
• Use brightly coloured objects.
• Use textured balls.

To successfully bounce and catch to self you must:
• Hit right spot on floor.
• Judge force of bounce.
• Remember hand/eye co-ordination.
• Close hands to catch at correct moment.
• Draw a cross or place square on floor in front of you.
• Aim for this every time.
• Alter force of the bounce till you can consistently get the ball to return to waist level.
• Start with a large ball and 2 hands. Progress to a small ball and 1 hand
• Remember for 1 handed catch, turn your hand palm upwards to catch ball.
• To bounce and catch with partner, the ball needs to hit the floor midway between 2 people.
• Use an X mark as a visual reminder.
• Alter force of bounce till you get ball to reach partner.

Advanced skills
Once basic throwing, catching, bouncing skills are mastered, progress to more complex skills, such as:
• Throw and catch in the air.
• Throw – clap – catch.
• Throw at wall – bounce – catch.
• Throw – catch – at wall.
• Throw – clap – catch.
• Try 1 hand catch.
• Try consecutive bouncing.
• Play bat and ball games.
• Skittles.
• Badminton.

Above all make all ball games fun. Choose just the right challenge. Be patient. Progress slowly. It takes lots of practice and encouragement.

Good luck!