Ball skills – throwing & catching
When teaching the child ball skills it is important to start at a level that the child can achieve and then slowly increase the level of difficulty, so that the child is stretched slightly each time, but does not lose self-confidence. Give lots and lots of praise and encouragement.
With each successful catch or throw performed in a row, upgrade and make the task slightly harder. For example, taking one step backwards, or changing timing or organisation required. Return to the previous activity if necessary if it is too difficult.
Help the child learn from unsuccessful attempts by discussing reasons, e.g. was the throw too hard; was the throw straight; not to over-anticipate; build up the art of timing and waiting for the ball; position of hands; keeping still when throwing and catching, etc. Split learning into 2 parts – throwing is one task and catching is another.
Catching and throwing – from a static position (standing still)
Some children may be frightened by a ball being thrown at them. They may be more inclined to avoid being hit by the ball and not attempt to catch it. Many children rely on the accuracy of the thrower rather than use their hands and eyes together.
Use a variety of slow moving balls/objects, e.g. balloons, foam balls, scarves. Slowing down the speed of the ball allows the child time to make the necessary adjustments to their position and time to follow the ball; this will increase their chances of success.
Try to start with 2-handed catching – if this is too difficult you could use a container for the child to hold, such as a basket. Also stand closer to the child so that success is guaranteed. Get the child’s attention first, so they know the ball is coming towards them. Gradually move further away from the child.
Dynamic catching (catching while moving)
Walk round in a circle, throwing the ball backwards and forwards to each other. Start with a small circle and slowly make the distance greater. Start with a slow walking pace, and gradually increase to a running pace. Try putting a bounce in the ball between each other.
Next – place a mark/spot on a wall as a target and get the child to walk towards the target and then throw a ball to see if they can hit it and catch the ball again.
Please click our ‘Ideas to help’ button below for suggestions for games to play.
Catching and throwing – High Kneeling