As Wimbledon gets underway our young stars played Tennis themselves this week at Epping Forest Sportability Club. After waiting weeks for some good weather we had an absolute scorcher on Saturday which meant we had to be careful that we were not out in the sun for too long.
We started the session with a warm up making good use of the schools outside gym equipment. It was then straight in to the Tennis with each child grabbing a tennis racket and ball. Starting with some basics we balanced a ball on the racket as we moved around, then we started hitting the ball up and then hitting the ball down - bouncing it between ground and racket We then moved on to pairing up with kids either side of two rows of cones. One child would bounce the ball to their partner who had to hit it back so that it could be caught. After a while roles were reversed so that everyone had a chance to get to hit the ball back.
After a much need drinks break to cool down we stayed in the school hall to escape the heat for a while and to play a game of King of the Court. This is a favourite game where each player takes it in turn to try and return a ball over the net. The ball must land in the court and must not be caught by a fielder. If you succeed you join the back of the queue to go again. Should you fail to get the ball over the net OR are outside the court OR are caught out then you join the fielding side on the other side of the net. Last child standing is the Queen or King of the Court.
The kids had lots of fun with Anand catching Coach Al out, Callum got Ray out and the last one standing was little Liam. Well done Liam
After the first game it was time for a well earned break for drinks and replenishments. Once back in the hall they loved the game so much they played another game. This time it was Anand who emerged victorious. We rounded off the session with some games of Boccia - the perfect game when the heat is rising, nice and relaxing!
We were blessed with some fabulous weather this week so it was straight outside on to the play ground at Oak View School this week. For the warm up the kids made use of the schools excellent new gym equipment in the play ground, as you can see in the first few pictures below.
It was then straight in to the Rugby with each child grabbing a ball each and starting with some basics like running with the ball, throwing it in to the air and catching it and passing the ball around their waists.
They then moved on to running with the ball, then stopping and passing it to a partner. That was followed by running through cones with the ball. Back in pairs it was then running with the ball and passing to the partner through the cones.
It was getting hot out there so a quick refreshment break was called for but they were soon back out passing the ball around a big circle. Next was a game of Beat the Ball - this is where one child has to run around the circle quicker than it takes the rest to pass the ball around the circle. The last circle game was passing within the circle - players would take it in turns to run across the circle with the ball to a fellow player and pass the ball to them as they approached. The next child would do the same and so on. It becomes a quick running and passing game.
The focus of this week’s session at Sportability Club was Hockey. After a warm-up of What’s the Time Mr Wolf led by Ollie and Ray, and other warm up routines, it was out with the Hockey sticks and Tennis Balls. To get familiar again with stick and ball we started with some basic dribbling of the ball around the hall. Then to get a bit more control we asked the kids to keep the ball within the court that is marked out on the floor.
Ollie then led a traffic light game for a bit of fun. When he held up the red cone it meant stop with the ball, a yellow cone being held aloft denoted stand on the spot but move the ball from side to side. Lastly, a green cone meant Go and so off around the hall dribbling with your tennis ball it was.
Alan then devised a great little game to test the dribbling skills further. It was called Puppy in the Park and the tennis ball was the puppy and the hockey stick the dog lead. The idea being to lead your puppy (ball) through a series of gates (pairs of cones) around the park. If you lost control and your puppy left the park, then you were out. To make it harder as the game went on the park got smaller and the turns between gates became harder. At the end Callum was the last player and so won the game – well done to Callum.
After a quick drink break it was back to the action with some slalom dribbling around cones before we did some shooting practice aiming to score between specific cones up against the bench. So players would dribble their ball up to a marker and then shoot from there. It was all about the accuracy of ball control and aim when striking the ball.
We then moved on to one versus one games where the players had to run up to the far end of the hall where the ball would be thrown in. They then had to compete to get the ball back down the hall and past Callum our resident goalkeeper to be the first to score. The coaches made sure the pairing’s were as evenly matched as they could be in terms of age and ability and everyone took a turn or two.
We finished off the session with a proper match with the group divided in to two teams and using the school’s benches as goals. The yellow team ended up winners in a high scoring game, winning by a couple of goals.
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!
Epping Forest Sportability Club is a multi-sports club for young people with mild to moderate physical and learning difficulties.