Recently our Head Coach, Alan, won the award for Best Disability Sports coach of the year at the Pride of Essex Sports awards 2019. The photo below is from the recent issue of the West Essex Life magazine - doesn't he scrub up well! As per the caption the photo shows Alan with friend of the club Anne Strike who presented Alan with the award and fellow winner and athlete Conor O'Hare. The awards were hosted by Bianca Westwood of Sky Sports, also seen in the photo. Full details of the awards and the ceremony can be found at https://theprideofessexsportsawards.org/
Alan - we are very proud of you and are blessed to have you as our head coach. Well done!
A bit of a slow start to the session this week and we feared everyone had gone on holiday! However, it turned out a few members were getting in the mood for half term by having a lie in. We ended up with a reasonable number and the sun was shining and it made for a lovely session out on the playground.
To start with we made good use of the new equipment to warm up, as you can see in the photos below. Then it was out with the golf clubs for some putting practice. First up it was putting to get the ball inside the hoops.
After a quick break for some water is was back outside and this time it was a game aimed at collecting as many cones as possible. Alan and Ray distributed all the cones across an area of the playground then the kids took it in turns to try and hit as many as possible with their putts. They collected the cones as they hit them and at the end, when there were no cones left to hit, it was the player with the most cones that won.
After a couple of games of this the game switched slightly with a row of numbered larger cones. This time each player kept a tally of their score as they hit the numbered cones
After the main drink & snack break it was back outside for the final part of putting. This was where the kids had to put through a series of cones. This was in order to ensure they were able to putt straight and in the correct direction. We then mixed it up by replacing the cones with people - so three kids would line up to form a tunnel with their legs apart. The others would then that it in turns to try and putt through all the kids legs.
To celebrate the FA Cup Final being played we took the kids out on the playground to have a session based around football. The sun made the occasional appearance too which made for a lovely session.
Ollie and Ray led the warm up stretches and games before we started on the football. The session was all about different skills and using various drills to help improve ball skills. Much like last week when we did dribbling the ball in Basketball it was similar this week but crucially the ball was on the floor and being dribbled between feet, not hands.
The session began with some basic ball dribbling around the playground but then Alan and the team had them stopping starting, doing toe taps and moving the ball from side to side. These were then used in a traffic light game with Red being stop with the ball, amber being side to side and toe taps and green for go - dribbling around the playground.
As the session progressed the coaches laid out a number of cones to negotiate. To start with it was a slalom style course going between and around the cones. Then they moved on to a figure of eight circuit before working in pairs passing to each other.
The last drills before the break were around passing and shooting. The group formed a big circle using all the playground and passed to each other across the circle. Cones were then used as goal posts for some shooting practice - where was Callum the goal keeper when we needed him????
The session finished with a small match and we got to use our bibs - like all proper football teams do! The action in the football looks great and I was reliably informed that the game ended in an honourable draw.
Our main sport this week was Basketball - just as well as it was pouring with rain outside!
This is the favourite sport for many of our members and it turned out to be a great session.
Ray was back to lead the warm up, with Ollie, and before too long it was out with the basketballs and the start of the practice. The school rang out to the sound of loads of basketballs being dribbled around the hall so it was rather noisy in there
As you can see in the photos the session started with some basic ball dribbling before moving on to "moving the ball around the body". From there it was a slalom course around the cones to be negotiated. After that we played a Traffic Light game with Ray holding up the coloured cones in turn. Red being stand still with the ball, amber (yellow) being bounce the ball on the spot and green is full on dribbling around the hall.
Next up was a new drill, not even sure it has a name! The idea being to dribble the ball as before but with the head up looking at where you are going rather than at the ball.
The last drill before a drinks break was bouncing the ball high, followed by bouncing the ball low. This encourages good all round ball control meaning you should be able to control it no matter what the situation - almost second nature.
After the break we played some one versus one games. This is where members are picked in pairs, by the coaches, to face each other. On the whistle they have to run from under the basket to the far end of the hall where the basketball will be thrown in to play by a coach. It is then a matter of offence & defense as the two players compete to score a basket first back at the far end of the hall. If you can get the ball first and get the first shot away and score then it is a quick win but if you miss you are soon on the defense as your opponent may themselves get a chance to shoot.
The last thing we did was have some shooting practice before finishing off the session with a game (reds vs yellows) which put every practice before hand to good use.
As you can see in the photo below some of the smaller & younger members opted out of the game to go and play in the Ball pool instead.
After playing Tennis last week it was the turn of the 'other' summer sport this week - Cricket. Ray was busy elsewhere so it was down to Alan and Ollie to lead the session with the assistance of Teagan. After some tag games for warm up the kids started the cricket practice with some fielding work - throwing and catching.
First off, the kids worked in pairs throwing and catching to each other. They then played a game, the name of which we don't know, where if you don't catch the ball you drop to one knee, if you miss again then it is down on both knees. Another miss and one arm goes behind the back and one last dropped catch and you are out and your partner wins that game. It is a simple but fun game that has been around for ages - I even used to play it as a kid.
Next up was another throwing and catching game - Champions. In this game the kids line up in a row facing a coach who stands in the middle. The coach, Ollie in this case, throws the ball randomly to people in the line. If they catch it they throw it back and move one place up the row. Drop it though and they move one place down the row. The winner is the person at the top of the row at the end of the game. You have to stay alert in this game as you don't know who the ball will be thrown to next. Congrats to Pranav who was champion at the end of the game.
After a quick drinks break the kids tried their hand at bowling at the wickets. As you can see in the photos we had a few sets of stumps to bowl at and the kids took in turn to bowl and keep wicket.
Next was batting practice. For this they placed the tennis balls on tees and hit the ball off there aiming to get it between two coloured cones at the far end of the hall. Points were awarded for getting balls between the cones so the player with the most points at the end of the game was the winner.
We finished this week with some games of Three Tee Cricket. This put together everything they had been practising. Taking it in turns to bat they had to hit three tennis balls as hard as they could off three tees. Then, whilst the rest of the group had to get the balls and tees back in position as quickly as possible, the batter had to get as many runs as possible between the wickets. The fielders were therefore using all their catching and throwing practice to get the balls from the back of the hall back to the front where they started.
It was great to be back after the Easter break, even if the weather had more of a winter feel to it. Being summer term what better sport to play than Tennis.
Ollie and Ray led the warm up before the Tennis started with some hitting practice. As you can see in the first photo below the kids paired up across the hall from each other. One would throw (feed) the ball to the other who using a tennis racket would aim to hit the ball back to their partner. So it was all about hitting the ball with the racket with the correct strength and direction to allow the partner to catch the ball. After a few turns the pair would switch so the other had a turn at hitting.
From there we used the cones in the opposite direction as a slalom course up the hall. The kids had to balance a tennis ball on the racket as they went up the course. At the far end they had to bounce the ball on the racket a few times before coming back.
For those good enough they took it to the next level by bouncing the ball on the racket as they went up the slalom course.
Stepping things up a bit the kids then went on to play "Build the Burger". This is where they start with a ball sandwiched between two players tennis rackets. They go up and down the course then add another ball with another members racket on top of that (so 3 kids, 3 rackets and 2 balls). Up and down the course without collapsing before trying to add a third ball & fourth racket. As the burger is built the harder it is to keep it all together which makes for a lot of concentration but also fun when it falls apart!
After the main break we switched to playing some games of King of the Court. The kids love this game and it needs a good level of skill to return the ball back over the net and in to the court whilst not getting caught at the same time. So control of the ball and hitting it properly are key with direction and speed the all important factors.
The game starts with one person throwing the ball over the net to the first person in the line. They have to return it back over the net and in to the court without being caught to stay in the game. Hit it in to the net or out of the court OR get caught and you are out and you join the person throwing the ball on the other side of the net as a catcher. The game continues until only one player is left in and that person is crowned the Queen or King of the Court.
The kids loved the game so much they carried on with it until the end of the session. I was reliably informed that the winners of the games were Kerrie and Liam so well done to them. A potential brother / sister double act in time for Wimbledon perhaps??
In what has become a bit of a tradition here at Epping Forest Sportability Club the last session of the term was a bit more relaxed. The Coaches set up a number of activities including Table Tennis, Basketball, Boccia, Curling and Badminton. Everyone then just had fun doing whatever activity they wanted and with some music playing I noticed the basketball shooting morphed in to a bit of dancing with a shot at the end - great fun!
At the mid-point break Alan did suggest playing a game of something to finish the session off but the kids were enjoying what they were up to so much we just carried on the fun. In addition, they borrowed the table football table and had some games of that too.
From everyone at the club we wish you and all your loved ones a very special Easter. For those of you lucky enough to get time off from school or work then do enjoy your time off and hopefully the weather will be kind to us all as well.
We look forward to seeing you all back after Easter - our next session being at the usual time of 10:00 on Saturday 27th April.
We had our first really fabulous day of the year in terms of weather this Saturday so it was great to get outside and enjoy the sun. The session started with some warm games including a gentle jog around the playground, some games of What's the Time Mr Wolf? and finally some parachute games. As you can see in the photos below it is a colourful and fun activity and the kids love it.
Once the warm ups were complete it was in to our main sport of the day which was Golf, or more specifically putting. The coaches laid out markers as Tees, cones to show alleys in which to put through with a hoop at the end of each that acted as the hole / target. The kids loved it as it was a test of not just hitting the ball in the right direction but also getting the pace of the ball correct. Hit it too hard and it would go flying past, not enough and it would not reach or bounce back off the rim of the hoop. Like any game of golf there was frustration and joy in equal measure.
After a short drinks break it was back to the putting and some games that the coaches had come up with. Firstly a number of cones were scattered around the playground and the kids had to collect as many as possible by hitting them when putting. Alexander won that game by collecting 9 cones. Then the game was switched to using the numbered yellow cones and the kids worked in pairs. The highest score won so hitting a cone with a higher value on it was the key. This game was won by the partnership of Daisy and Phoebe.
We finished off the session back in the hall with some games of Boccia. The group split in to the red and blue team with each aiming to get as many of their coloured balls in to the hoop of the same colour.
Our star of the week award winner this week was Daisy for her excellent work in the Golf and the Boccia. A very well done Daisy (pictured to the left with Ollie)
Next Saturday is the last of the spring term so dont miss out, especially as there may be a visit from the Easter Bunny!
See you there!
With the weather slowly improving we managed to get outside on to the playground for a session of football this week. It wasn't the warmest of days but with all the running around it was good enough to get out in to the fresh air. The session started with some warm up drills, running around on the playground. It was then out with the footballs for some skills practice starting with dribbling the ball.
As always, as the session progressed the more complex the drills became. So after some basic dribbling of a football around the playground we moved on to a traffic lights game. Similar to when we play the game for other sports when the leader held up a red marker it meant stay still with the ball. A yellow marker meant move the ball from side to side while standing on the spot. A green marker meant go and to dribble the ball around the playground. The last to react to the change in colour each time is out.
The next progression involved using cones to move and dribble the ball around them. Then passing the ball was introduced so some moving the balls around and between cones before passing to a team mate who was waiting for the ball to take their turn.
Alan and the coaches then laid out a course in the shape of a figure of eight and the kids had to dribble the balls between the cones as they went around the course, trying to not go outside the cones along the path.
The last skill left to practice was shooting and so the kids did that by firstly dribbling around the cones and then shooting at the goal. Sometimes it would be an empty goal and so it was just about the accuracy of shooting between the posts. At other times we had Callum, our resident goalkeeper, between the sticks adding an extra challenge to the shooting practice.
The second shooting drill was called "Rapid Fire Shooting". This involved 3 balls placed on coloured spots and a cone which was the starting position. Each competitor had to run from the cone to the first ball and shoot at the goal, then they had to race back around the cone and to the second ball, shoot and back around the cone once more before shooting with the ginal ball. We had three sets of balls arranged at the same time so three kids could go at the same time. It was fast and mixed speed with accuracy in shooting.
After the main break, to recuperate with a drink, snack and small talk, we rounded off the session with a small sided match (about 6-a-side). Putting to good use all the skills practiced throughout the session and making full use of the whole playground it was a great way to end the week.
Our Head Coach Alan Prentice attended Loughton Town Council's AGM on the 13th where he picked up a certificate for Financial Assistance for this coming financial year as the council have kindly awarded the Sportability Club £600 towards our running costs.. Alan can be seen at the back of the photo below with the certificate, along with all the other groups that were awarded grants
Epping Forest Sportability Club is a multi-sports club for young people with mild to moderate physical and learning difficulties.