First on today's itinerary (after a warm-up of course!) was dodge-ball. We split ourselves into teams of 4, and aimed the soft balls at our opponents legs in order to get them 'out'. To get team members back into to game We had to pass them a ball or they could catch a ball .
Next everyone took part in some outdoor activities. We played 'Rob the Nest', which consists of teams collecting as many tennis balls as possible from the central hoop (one-at-a-time) in 5 minutes. Then, the teams had to steal tennis balls from opposing teams and return them to their teams 'nest'. At the end of the game, Coach Alan would count the number of tennis balls in each teams 'nest', and those with the greatest number would win the game.
After a refreshment break it was out on to the main field for a while to practice throwing, the idea being to throw tennis balls towards one of the coaches. Trying to throw correctly, getting maximum distance whilst getting the aim right were all factors to be mastered.
Using those skills it was then back to the playground for a game of Handball. For those that do not know Handball is like Football but using the hands - obviously! The only difference is that once you catch the ball you must pass it without moving. So it is a game of "pass and move" with quick passes between team mates as you run up the pitch. To be honest some of the players found it harder to stand still with the ball and wanted to get closer to the goal. Others were keen to shoot - even if they were closer to the half way line. However, as the game progressed they got to grip with the rules and the tactics. The only problem for the red team was that Ollie was in goal for the yellow team and he was not letting anyone score! Kerrie did a fantastic job in the red team's goal so the score was pretty low but the yellow team edged the game overall to come out winners.
Badminton is one of the favourite sports of our members and we had not played it since early March so it was great to get the rackets and shuttlecocks out again. After the usual warm up - a game of tag - we started the badminton with some skills practice. In this case it was a game of "keepy uppy" - trying to keep the shuttlecock in the air as long as possible, This practice helped with controlling the shuttlecock and hitting it cleanly with the racket. The children then paired off and began passing to each other across the hall
After a quick drinks break it was in to some match play - either singles or doubles matches across the nets. Some good running, great shots and a few long rallies were seen. Most of all the kids all have fun playing,
Our last sport was some games of Goalball - using a bench at each end of the hall as a goal the kids sat on mats and had to pass the ball to team mates to progress up the pitch. It is a game of accurate passing and throwing if you are to succeed. We made the game more realistic for a few of our members by making them wear blindfolds - Goalball is normally played by players who are blind or visually impaired. The ball has a small bell inside it so that you can locate it by the sound so playing in a quiet environment is important but at the same time communication between those still able to see with those who can not has to be focused and clear. It was certainly a challenging game, not so much from a physical aspect but more in terms of thinking about your team and communicating with each other effectively. For those blindfolded it also brought home how much we rely on our senses.
At the end of the session the coaches awarded to Star of the Week award to young Callum - our star goal keeper. A very well done Callum!
Join us again next Saturday for our last session before half term. If the weather stays good we will hopefully get outside and possibly even on to the field. Don't forget the sun cream, hats and drinks (or water bottle) if it is a hot day.
This week at Epping Forest Sportability Club we had a variety of Athletic events for the kids to practice and enjoy. We also had a surprise celebration at the end of the session as well but more about that later....
The session started as usual with a warm up with a game of tag led by Ollie and Ciara. It was then in to the first three events, these being standing jump, ball push and low hurdles. The standing jump is literally how far you can jump from a standing start, on to a mat. The ball push is pushing the basketball out from the chest and seeing how far they could get it to go before it bounces. As you can see in the photos the kids stood behind a bench to ensure they started from the same spot but also to ensure they were stationary. The low hurdles was a series of six little hurdles and it was about practicing not just jumping over the hurdles but about getting a stride pattern and rhythm to ensure a fast time from beginning to end.
After a drinks break it was out with the big crash mat and time for the high jump. Instructions came from Alan, organizing the queue was Ray whilst Lesley and Ollie held the rope that acted as the bar. The kids loved it and while some perfected their jumping style others preferred to practice their belly flops!
It was then outside on to the grass to practice throwing some Javelins - and do not worry these were made of plastic rather than metal. Javelin is Ollie's favourite sport but it also lends itself to one of coach Alan's favourite lines and that is "Make a bow and let it go". As you can see from the photos below the lead arm is out in front bent at the elbow with the javelin in the hand of the trailing arm. The shape forms a bow or C-shape and as you throw both arms move forward in unison. If you get it right the tip of the javelin points upwards and the barrel spins as it flies through the air like an arrow. Ollie and Thomas were consistently the furthest throwers but all the kids got involved and most had one or two good throws in them.
To finish off most of the kids, and adults, joined in a game of football on the playground. The exception being Charlotte who isn't a fan of football so practiced her basketball in the hall. By the time I joined in the football it was 8-0 to the side containing Thomas, Ryan and Callum despite them being outnumbered. They won comfortably won the game about 10 to 4 in the end after Hal pulled a couple back for the other team (which contained most of the adults which shows you how good we are!). At the end of the session the coaches awarded the Star of the Week to Thomas who really joined in well and excelled at the javelin and all the athletic events. A very well done to Thomas.
Not sure of Coach Alan had been watching the NBA finals on TV or whether he thought we might have a young LeBron James or Steph Curry in our midst but this week was all about basketball.
Ollie and Ray led the warm up, as usual, with some stretching exercises followed by a game of tag to get everyone running around.
Then it was out with the basketballs and straight in to the skills session. As always we start off with some basics and build up from there. So to start with it was bouncing a ball on the spot before moving on to some basic dribbling. Then it was some shooting practice before Ollie led a traffic light game. This is where the kids had to do a different thing depending on which colour disk he held up - red, yellow or green, It was either bouncing the ball, moving the ball around the body or throwing it up in the air and catching it again. The shooting practice was a game where the group split in to two lines, one at each end of the court. Each player would take it in turns to shoot. Once they had taken their turn they would throw the ball back to the next person then join the other queue. This way the two lines operate in a form or circle utilizing both basketball nets.
After a short break we moved on to some one vs one games where the kids would race each other up the hall away from the basket to where Ollie was waiting to throw the ball in. Once the ball was in play it was a race back to the basket and to be the first to score a basket. The coaches mixed up the pairings to keep each match up interesting and the kids showed some great shooting prowess.
After a final break it was on to the main games. We split the group in to yellow, red and blue teams so that two teams were on court while the other rested. It also meant each team got to play each of the other two teams in a round robin format and utilise all the skills they had practised. There were some great games and teamwork on display and the kids really enjoyed it.
To finish off we played a game of benchball so still throwing and catching but just a little less frenetic and once you made it to the bench you had a chance to rest a bit!
At the end of the session the coaches collaborated
& deliberated and came to the conclusion that
ranav should be award the Star of the Week
award for his great attitude, participation and his
exemplary behaviour during the session.
A very well done Pranav!
Join us again next Saturday when I believe Coach
Alan has planned a session of indoor athletics
for us all, making use of the wall bars and other
See you then!
After playing cricket last week it was on to another summer sport this week with some Tennis out in the fresh air of the playground. We had a great turnout again and after the usual warm up in the hall it was outside for some skills work. To start with Alan, Ray and the coaches had the kids balancing tennis balls on their rackets followed by bouncing the ball with the racket This was all to teach and practice ball control. Once that was mastered it was on to working in pairs passing the ball to each other with the aim of getting a rally going.
After a quick drinks break it was back out on to the court with the next step being passing the ball back over the net. The group split in to two with Alan on one court and Ollie on the other. The kids lined up to return a ball thrown to them back over the net. All this practice led to a game of King (or Queen) of the Court. The aim of the game was to be the last one standing by returning the ball over the net and getting it within the court and not being caughht out. All the kids start on the hitting side but if they fail to get the ball back over the net and in to the court in three attempts, or they get caught by the fielding side, then they are out and join the fielding side. Gradually the queue of hitters goes down and the amount of fielders goes up until their is just one left in and they are crowned the king or queen of the court.
It was time for a well earned snack break, during which Theo and Liam enjoyed themselves on the playground equipment as you can see in the photos above. Then, with the weather getting a bit colder, we returned indoors for a game of volleyball followed by a game of benchball to finish.
Overall it was a very busy and energetic session which focused a lot around ball control, whether that be with a racket or throwing and catching. At the end of the session coach Alan and his staff awarded the Star of the Week award to Jenny who worked hard throughout the session and really enjoyed herself.
Come along again next Saturday to see what Alan and the team have in store for us!
Epping Forest Sportability Club is a multi-sports club for young people with mild to moderate physical and learning difficulties.