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On the Ball: A Guide to Beginning Ball Handing Skills
Learning ball skills are essential for teaching any sport. In the following
article, I would like to share some tips and games that you can use when you
are teaching ball handling skills to children. Ball skills mostly consist
of simple movements executed in multiple steps. Multiple tasks skills
consist of hand-eye skills throwing, catching, bouncing, dribble, rolling,
kicking, trapping, and dribbling. Tasks can also be done with a bat, hockey
stick, or another sports instrument.
When working with groups of children with ball skills work in groups of two
and not more than four taking turns with one ball. This helps students make
frequent contact with the ball.
There are various types of balls. Some of them include whiffle balls,
sponge, rubber, yarn, bean and fleece balls. Different types of balls teach
grabbing, throwing hitting using various weights, sizes, surfaces, and
designs. Activities done outside and inside can also show have different
environments can affect ball handing skills.
Students must learn to effectively how to roll a ball first. With your
hands have the student place the ball on the floor and roll between their
legs. Roll the ball in various directions, shapes, making numbers. Figure
eights work nicely around the legs. Put the ball with various body parts
such as above the head, roll the ball down the arm, behind tieback and down
the arm and around the lower and the upper body. Roll the ball toward your
partner and aim it toward your friend’s hands. It is also helpful to roll
the ball and identify various parts of your body as you roll them from one
body part to another such as head, neck, hands, and torso.
Roll the ball to the inside of your body, using the sole of one foot. Try
to position the sole of the foot on the ball towards the outside edge of
your foot, so that the ball rotates just enough to allow you to put your
rolling foot down briefly. Try to keep the ball so that you can keep moving
in the same direction. Repeat, going in the opposite direction with the
Roll the ball towards the outside of your body, using the sole of one foot.
Try to position the sole of the foot on the ball towards the inside edge, so
that the ball rotates just enough to allow you to put your rolling foot down
briefly so that you can keep moving in the same direction. Repeat, going in
the opposite direction with the other foot. Rolling to a friend is another
good skill to practice with using the inside and the outside of your foot.
Have groups of three. Two people stand six giant steps apart and face the
player who has a ball. The ball person throws the ball and then the middle
and farthest person jumps on the ball as it rolls toward you. Make sure you
play this game with a soft surface in case someone falls.
Dribbling is another skill. It is important that the person dribble
accurately in place and then moving in a specified area. Dribbling is
controlling the movement of the ball with the feet and hands. The ball is
tapped and dragged to cover space or to changing directions. All parts of
the foot are utilized when dribbling. Throwing from accuracy comes next.
Bouncing with both hands and then bounce in different parts of the body.
For added practice, close eyes when bouncing and catching. Use one hand
bounce and continue to bounce at different lengths such as low, high and
middle. Then it is important that the child to catch the ball a number of
Have players pair up, each player with a ball. Leader dribbles while second
player follows, also dribbling. Remind players to keep their heads up.
Encourage creative dribbling - changes in direction, pace, and technique.
Stress control and change leaders frequently.
Throw and catch a ball against the wall and catch the return after one
bounce. Practice different kinds of two-handed, one-handed, overhead, side
and chest level. Throw a ball against the wall. Use two balls, pass back
and forth with balls going to opposite directions, and have the partners
catch and toss in between.
Your players, each with their own ball, dribble around a large grid. They
should be moving at a decent pace, avoiding each other, and keeping their
heads up.After they have been dribbling for a while, call out the
word "CHANGE." When you do this each player must stop their ball, leave it
where it is, and run around the circle looking for another ball. It is
important they get to new balls right away and continue dribbling.
After allowing them to get comfortable with the concept of the drill, remove
one player's ball. This player now must run around the drill without a
ball. When the next "Change" comes about that person must try to find a
ball leaving another player without a ball to dribble.
Any player who does not end up with a ball after a "Change" has to run round
the grid. Just be careful that the same player does not lose out every time.
Practicing Catch is another essential ball skill. Students should have
practice throwing and catching the ball not only in the air but also on the
floor. In the following paragraph, I will give some ideas for using various
When passing the ball always says to the person, you are throwing to if they
are ready. It signals the other player to the presence of the ball and
keeps the thrower on task. After a while, it becomes a habit with most
Passing is kicking or throwing the ball to another teammate or into a
strategic in a balanced period. Proper technique is the key to good accurate
passing. Look up to find your target but remember to look at the ball as
you strike it. Be sure, when you are passing to keep on moving. In a
sports’ game who knows where the ball will come next. Remind especially
younger children to focus on the pass when passing it.
The name game is a great way to introduce players to one another. Say the
name of a person or a letter from the alphabet and have that particular
person catch that ball.
Kicking the ball with the intent to score is a goal is called shooting. The
shooting optimizes power and accuracy. The kicking motion involves the hip
and kick technique for shooting is different from for passing. Generally,
the top of the food and the toe is pointed down and the ankle is locked.
The non- striking foot is on the side of the ball. Students should strike
the middle of the ball. And the knee of the kicking should be over the
ball. A child’s head should be down and eye should be on the ball. Pick out
your target and focus on it.
Throwing is another important ball skill. Underhand throwing is good for
children who are just beginning skills of throwing. Overhand is good for
learning to learn fine motor skills and specialized dexterity. Overhand
throwing techniques are important. Some of those skills include: hand
behind ears, steps with opposite feet, then follows, and reaches together.
A good game to get kids ready for basketball is to have them throw a ball or
piece of rolled up paper into a clean trashcan. After they have mastered
throwing the ball to a close spot, increase the challenge by having them
step progressively farther away from it.
Creativity is also important when doing ball skills. Younger children
should be encouraged to use balls in a creative yet controlled way. This
will help them learn how to change speed and directions and retain control
of the ball are applying their techniques in a creative way. Players who
can move their bodies from side to side in an effort to unbalance a defender
are showing signs of creativity.
Ball skills teach many lifelong skills. Some of those skills include
learning direction, patterning learning to work with others. What a
wonderful lesson to learn for life.
Suggested References and Recommended Extended Activities
Bailey, Guy Ultimate Playground, and Recess Game. Camas, WA: Educators
Burk, Maggie C. Station Games, Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL 2002-Balls,
Compilation of Dribbling Moves
Footy 4 Kids
Gould, Marilyn Playground Sports, Lothrop, Lee, Shephard Company: New York
Galina, Jill and Michael Ball Activity Fun, Kimbo Educational: Long Branch
Landry, Joanne M. and Landry, Maxwell J., Ready-to-Use P.E. Activities for
Grades1-2, Parker Publishing, 1992 Balls, and Halloween
Landry, Joanne M. and Landry, Maxwell J., Ready-to-Use P.E. Activities for
Grades 3-4, Parker Publishing, 1992 Balls
Mc Call, Renee M and Craft, Diane H. Purposeful Play, Human Kinetics,
Champaign, IL 2004
SPARK: Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids
Mckenzie, Thomas L. and Rosengard, Paul F. Sports, Play, and Active
Recreation For Kids. Spark Physical Education, San Diego University, 2000
Panegyrize, Robert P. and Dauber, Victor P. Dynamic Physical Education for
Elementary School Children, Ninth Edition, Mc Millian Publishing Company,
Under the Age of Seven
Wise, Debra Great Books of Children’s Games, Mc Graw Hill, 2003