Catching and throwing skills are an important component of many games and activities played by children at primary school level. It is important that children in the early years of schooling are given many opportunities to develop these skills to prepare them for the games and sports they may play as they move up through the school years.
When teaching your child ball skills it is important to start at a level that your child can achieve and then slowly increase the level of difficulty. Increase the challenge slightly each time, but not too difficult, as this may impact your child’s confidence and motivation to practice. Remember to give lots of praise and encouragement!
When practicing throwing with your child, it is good to start with easily achievable targets, such a wide basin/bucket. Start with a distance your child will successfully throw into and then increase the distance (a foot at a time). Give your child a spot they must stand on or a line they must stand behind. Use different throwing items (big/small balls, beanbags, small soft toys etc.) and different targets (small/big targets and easy/difficult distances).
Use a points system to make it fun, (easy targets= 1 point, medium targets = 3 points, difficult targets= 5 points). Set a target amount of points and then reward your child for reaching the goal (e.g. one sticker for 30 points)
If your child throws with poor direction it may be beneficial to emphasise to them the difference in throwing something up in the air vs. down towards the ground. Practice throwing a balloon UP in the air so it touches the roof if you are indoors. Practice throwing a tennis ball downwards so it will bounce on the ground before reaching a wall. Use a wall to practice throwing at different heights.
Throwing underarm vs. overarm
Depending on your child’s age and level they will adopt a different style throw.
Under- arm throw: Opposite foot to throwing hand steps forward. Dominant hand starts behind body and swings below waist. Release as hand points towards target.
Over arm throw: Stand side on to target. Opposite foot to throwing arm forward. Throwing arm starts behind head, with elbow bent at 45 degree angle- ball held high. As ball begins to be moved forward, hips and shoulders rotate forward too for power. Throwing arm follows through, down and across body.