Well we’re all back after the half term holidays, the summer break feels a long way away, never mind, the sun will surely shine soon.
At Catch-a-balls we are bringing out the racquets this week. Somehow these are always rewarding for the children. There is nothing like a good strike of a balloon with a racquet as it can go along way while making a great noise. However, some children do struggle with controlling a racquet in their hand and trying to strike a moving object. Balloons are fabulous for this job, as we also find they are when teaching children how to catch. They are large and slow moving which is ideal for someone who is taking aim while trying to manipulate their limbs.
I have also found that rather than handing a racquet to a child and expecting them to know what to do it is sometimes better to give them another skill to practice which will help them with their batting. So this week we are also doing the overhead pass. This encourages the children to take the ball up over their heads, step forward and throw the ball. So they are practicing taking their hands up and over their heads, which is then the motion we ask them to do with the racquets.
The next challenge is to get the children to hold the racquet correctly. We’re not looking for a spot on tennis racquet grip but we do want the flat side of the racquet to face the thrower. Patience and a little manipulation usually does the trick.
Often we encourage the children to stand on the marker, this makes it easier for the thrower to judge a good throw towards the racquet. The downside is that many children then feel they cannot move their feet so unless the throw goes straight to the racquet they can end up missing the balloon. So with a little bit of patience and quick feet on the throwers part it is good to encourage the child to move then they will automatically, with practice, manoeuvre themselves in order to hit the ball.
Another good practice is to discard the racquet and use your hand, again a balloon is ideal. You can play a back and forth game quite effectively with a youngster doing this and its good fun to challenge yourselves by counting the hits.