Last Saturday's session was all about the sport of Rugby with a number of drills to practice and hone skills. We then progressed through a number of rugby themed games until we ended up with some Tag Rugby games.
The session started as always with a warm up led by Ray, Ollie and Ciara. It was then out with the new plastic rugby balls and practicing simple passing and catching in a large ring in the hall. From there it was on to working in pairs - throwing and catching - and then on to running around a slalom course of cones with ball in hand.
There then followed a couple of Rugby favourites in the form of games of Hunter and Dragons Den. I always get these games confused but I think Dragon's Den is where a Dragon is guarding their nest of eggs (rugby balls) from would be thieves. The balls are placed in a ring and the Dragon faces away from the ring. The player then has to approach the ring and wait for the coach to yell GO. At this point the player must steal a ball and get back to their base at the other end of the hall without getting caught by a Dragon. The Dragon cant move until the GO signal is called but must then try a grab a tag off the rival players belt before they get back to their base with the ball. We had two games running in parallel so it was fast and furious fun.
After a short drinks break, and with the weather improving, we went outside to play a game that was a version of bulldog with rugby balls! Basically, the kids lined up at one end of the playground with a rugby ball each and a tag belt with two tags on it. In the middle of the pitch were three leaders - Ray, Ciara and Ollie. On the word Go the kids had to get to the other end of the pitch and touch their ball down without being tagged. This was then repeated back down the pitch. If a member had been tagged twice and had both tags removed then they switched sides to help the leaders catch the others. The winner being the last person standing with a life (tag) in tact.
After all that running about the kids fully deserved their main break which gave them a chance to sit down, relax, chat as well as grab a drink and snack.
For the last part of the session Ciara took the younger boys down to the ball pool where they had loads of fun playing. Joseph loves it so much that he asks to go to the ball pool from the moment he arrives and we have to use it as a reward if he takes part in the events beforehand!
The rest of the gang were back out on to the playground with Alan, Ollie and Ray to play a proper game of tag rugby. This is like normal rugby except that if an opponent grabs one of your tags while you have the ball then you have to turn the ball over to the opposing team. This therefore encourages teamwork and passing to move the ball up the pitch without getting caught in possession.
Another Saturday of glorious weather so we were all out on the playground making the most of the weather as we played a variety of games. Numbers were a little down, there was mention of another event happening at the same time - a wedding or something. but those that were present at Oak View School enjoyed themselves immensely.
After the usual warm up led by Ray, Ciara and Ollie the session goy under way with some agility and running games. First up was Rob the Nest were the group split in to teams and the object of the game is to get the most balls in to your nest by robbing balls from other teams nests. However, while you are busying getting balls from their nests the other team may well be taking balls from yours. Therefore, the faster you are the better but good tactics also play a big part.
After that was Domes and Dishes where a lot of cones are scattered around the playground - some are face up (dishes) and some are face down (domes). Two teams then compete to get as many facing their way as possible before the game ends. The Domes team try to get them all facing down while the Dishes team are turning them all the other way getting them facing up. So, like Rob the Nest it is a frantic game where the teams are often undoing what the opposing team has just done. The team with the most cones facing their way at the end is the winner
After a refreshment break we then moved on to Football Rounders. This is similar to a normal game of Rounders but instead of trying to hit a small ball with a small bat we used a football and the pitcher rolls the ball along the ground so the player whose turn it is can kick it in any direction they like (and as hard as they like). At this stage rather than go straight in to a game Ray let each player take a turn kicking the ball and helped the players understand how and when to run around the stops that make up the diamond. A lot of players also got the chance to either bowl or field.
After the main break, where some of the group watched some of THAT wedding on the laptop, it was no more practising but in to a game. The group split in to two teams with each team taking it in turns to either bat (kick) or bowl & field. At this point Teagan took Todd (her younger brother) and his best mate Liam off to the ball pool where they always have lots of fun - mainly at Teagan's expense!
I am told that it was Callum's team that won the football rounders game so a very well done to all his team.
We braved the indifferent weather last Saturday to get out on to the playground once more, this time for a rare session of football. As many other sports clubs have football as their main sport we buck the trend which means that we rarely play it. Anyway, we put out new footballs to great use by practising a number of drills focusing on ball control.
The session started with some warm ups led by Ray, Ciara and Ollie. Then it was on to the football and in particular dribbling - keeping control of the ball while moving. As always, through a series of drills and games we built the skill level up during the session so to start with it was just moving around the playground keeping control of your ball. Then it was on to a traffic light game where you had to stop with your ball under control on a red light, stay still but move the ball between your feet on a yellow light and go around the playground on green with the ball under control. The lights in question being coloured cones being held up by one of the coaches.
Next up was dribbling the balls around cones over a slalom course, then the same again but with shooting at the end aiming to get the ball between two cones (goal posts).
After that we raised the competitive level by having a slalom course side by side so two members could compete against each other to get up the course first.
Alan then came up with some games that he struggled to explain to me so they are hard to relate! But basically the pitch was set up in a rectangle with each corner being a different colour. The members were then instructed to go to different corners, in control of their footballs, by the colour being called out. There then followed a game that incorporated turning with the ball and changing direction.
All these skills were then put to good practice when the members divided up in to two teams for a competitive match - reds vs yellows - just like Roy of the Rovers (one for the older readers there!)
After the main break we took things inside as the clouds were getting darker and the spots of rain were becoming more frequent! We therefore switched sports and instead of a football match, as we didnt want to be breaking windows in the school hall, we played a hockey match instead. The groups were split in to two teams, reds and yellows, and using upturned benches for goals we got going. Ball control now was through plastic hockey sticks and the ball was now a tennis ball but the concentration and skills required were the same and we saw some great action including passing, team work, shooting and fantastic goal keeping.
With the return of the hot weather it was back out on to the school playground for some Tennis practice and games. After a warm up to get the kids prepared it was straight in to the skills practices starting with balancing a ball on the racket, then bouncing a ball on the racket followed by bouncing the ball between floor and racket. From there it was on to working in pairs passing back and forth. Unfortunately I do not have any photos of this first part of the session as was stuck on the front desk and Lesley, who often helps out with the photography, was away.
After a quick drinks break it was then out with the nets and the group split in to two lines, one per court. Ollie and Ray then worked with each line practising returning the ball over the net, with Alan helping out across both courts, as you can see in the photos below.
After another refreshment break we put all the practise in to good use by playing some games of King of the Court. For those not familiar with the game all the players start off in a line on the far side of the net from the coach. The coach throws the ball over the net and the player has to return it back getting the ball inside the court (the cones in the photos below) and also not getting caught out. In the practice rounds even if you were caught or failed to get the ball back over the net and in to the court, then you were given another life. In the main games once you are out you join the coach on the other side of the net helping to get the other players out by catching the ball. The last person remaining becomes King (or Queen) of the Court. In the first game, after some very good play where a few players survived a number of rounds, it was Charlotte who won and was Queen of the Court.
After a final snack and drinks break - much needed to re-hydrate some hot children - we took things inside and out of the sun. The youngsters went to the ball pool with Tiegen where Liam, Todd and Joseph seemed intent on terrorising her and throwing the plastic balls at her. The rest of the group played a series of Indoor Curling games in the hall using the new kit we purchased recently (with Epping Forest District Council's assistance). The coaches would pick two people at a time to play each other. They had four stones each and we used the basketball shooting circle at the far end of the hall as the target. The player with most stones inside the circle was the winner.
Just a quick update to say a massive THANK YOU to everybody at Epping Forest District Council and in particular those involved in granting us funding this year, Louis Walton and Helen Kane, to purchase a large amount of sporting equipment.
As you can see in the photo below we managed to order Cricket sets, Badminton sets, Footballs, Tennis equipment and even an indoor Curling set. All through the generosity of the Grant that EFDC awarded us.
Last Saturday the weather was not so kind to us so we were forced to stay inside. So we switched sports from the planned session to play basketball instead and make use of the fantastic facilities that Oak View School provides.
It was great to see Ollie back on the coaching team as well and he helped Ray with the initial warm ups. Once they were complete the basket balls came out and each member started practicing their ball control by bouncing the ball as they moved around the hall.
Ollie then led a traffic light game where, depending on which colour he held up, the members had to either stand still (red), bounce the ball from side to side on the spot (amber) or move around the hall (green). The last exercise before a drinks break was an slalom course laid out up the hall such that two members completed against each other to get to the end of the hall and back bouncing their ball around the cones and passing the ball around their back before returning.
After the drinks break it was on to some shooting practice making use of the net at each end of the hall. The kids split in to two lines, one for each net, and once they had taken a turn they would pass the ball back to the next in line before joining the back of the other line. This effectively meant that the kids went in a circuit shooting at each basket in turn.
It was then time for some matches. The group split in to three teams - reds, yellows and blues - for a series of matches against each other lasting a few minutes each. You can see some of the action in the photos below.
Whilst the basketball games were going on a couple of our younger members made good use of the school's ball pool. As you can see Ciara was looking after them which involved being part of the slide for Liam to go down. They certainly seemed to be having a ball (apologies for the pun!)
After the final break the coaches took things down a notch or two for the final game by playing some Boccia. The remaining members split in to two teams, one at either end of the hall. The white Jack ball was placed in the centre of the hall and then each player took their turn to get as close to the Jack as they could. The team closest at the end was the winner of that game.
Epping Forest Sportability Club is a multi-sports club for young people with mild to moderate physical and learning difficulties.