We had a really good session based around Throwing last Saturday at Oak View School. After the usual warm up exercises it was out with the soft balls and in to pairs to work on throwing. It started with facing each other across the hall and doing a bounce pass to each other. That then led to a game where a tennis ball was placed on a cone between each pair and the aim of the game was to throw the ball directly at the cone trying to get the aim and distance correct to hit the cone and knock the tennis ball off.
Next up was another ingenious throwing game where by the coaches led by Alan and Ray set up a series of numbered cones with the lower scoring cones at the front and the high scorers at the back. The kids then had to stand behind the line and throw the ball at the cones with the aim of getting as many points as possible.
After a short break for refreshments we had a quick game of handball which is the same as football but with hands - obviously! So passing to team mates by throwing the ball rather than kicking and scoring by throwing the ball past the goalie and in to the goal. As you can see in the few photos below both Ollie and Callum took turns in goal.
It was then on to our last sport - Goalball. Similar to handball but played sitting down. Also, the ball has a bell inside it as this is a game often played by partially sighted or blind players. We did try practising with blind folds on but one of our members has a hearing problem so that made him two senses down which was particularly hard. We therefore ditched the blind folds but enjoyed the game none the less.
The session last week was one of our busiest for quite a while! Thanks to a very positive comment on a parents forum page we have been very fortunate to welcome a few new faces over the last couple of weeks as well as a couple more enquiries. So with a good turnout and a few new members to integrate in to the session the coaches were certainly kept busy - I have never seem Coach Alan so worn out by 1 o'clock before! That meant that Zoe was not able to take as many photos as she normally would do so this post will be a lot briefer than normal.
The session started as normal with some warm ups led by Ray, Ollie and Ciara before moving on to this weeks main sport -Golf, or more precisely putting. The coaches devised a few drills and games aimed at improving coordination, aim and control. One such game was where the children had to aim their puts at specific cones and if they hit them they scored points. The child with the most points was the winner.
After a break we switched sports to Cricket with some games of Three Tee Cricket. The kids take it in turns to be the one batting where they hit three tennis balls off of three tees and then run between the wickets as many times as possible while the rest (the fielders) collect the balls and tees and put them back in their original positions. Once the fielders have everything back to normal the batter stops running and the runs are totalled up. The batter with the most runs once everyone has taken their turn is the winner.
It was a mixed bag of sports last Saturday at Epping Forest Sportability Club, We started with Athletics but being November we were not running around the field in the cold and wet. Instead, we were in the nice warm School Hall doing various activities such as hurdles, ball push, standing long jump and high jump. For those that do not know the ball push is literally how far you can project a ball by pushing out from your chest when standing still (in our case from behind a bench).
The high jump was a particular favourite as it was out with the large crash mat with the challenge being to take a run up and jump over a rope held up by Ollie and Ciara. Most took the opportunity to take a footballer style dive over the rope with real artistic style. Anand had the most authentic jump though as he went over on his back in a "frisby flop" style and managed to get good height as well as you can see in the photos below.
After a drinks break we switched sports in favour of a leisurely game of Target Boccia. The groups split in to two teams - reds and blues - and faced off against each other from either end of the hall. We then welcomed a new member - Kamran - who came for the first time with his parents. For the first time in quite a while we got out the multi-coloured parachute out for a game or two involving balancing a ball on the parachute as it was being flapped up and down.
Our last game of the session was a bit more fast paced as the group, in their two teams, took part in a game of Bench ball. This game is a firm favourite and involves throwing the ball and catching it within your team without the ball hitting the ground with the aim of getting the ball up the pitch and to your person on the bench at the far end. You are not supposed to run with the ball so it is all about running, stopping, catching, throwing to your team mate and moving again until you get close to the bench enough to pass for the team mates on the bench for them to catch. If they catch the ball without it bouncing or without falling off the bench then the person throwing the ball joins their team mates on the bench. The winning team being the one with all their team on the bench the first.
For our first session back after the half term break we welcomed a new member - Jimmy - who hopefully likes the club enough to come back and be a regular member. Always great to see new members coming along and joining in on the fun!
Our main sport this week was Tennis so the session involved a number of activities and games revolving around a racquet and tennis ball. These included ball control, balancing, working in pairs and team games.
As always the session started with a warm up and as usual it was led by Ray, Ciara and Ollie. Then it was straight in to the skills practice session. First up it was balancing the ball on the racquet and then starting to move around the ball without dropping it. This not only helps teach good balance but the kids get to feel for the sweet spot on the racquet. Then it was on to bouncing the ball using the racquet but rather than just whack it and see it bounce high in the air the aim was to get the racquet as close to the ground as possible as it is a lot harder to keep the ball bouncing this way.
The kids then when on to work in pairs, some with the coaches, practising returning the ball to the partners. So one child would throw the ball to their partner with a bounce pass and the partner had to return it with the racquet. Again this is about control and direction and not just hitting the ball hard in any direction. It sounds simple but is a lot harder in practice so the drills do help build up their skill levels.
The next skills based game was Build-a-burger. It is a simple game but takes a lot of balancing skills and concentration. The idea is to build a Burger which is made of different layers - in our case the kids balance tennis balls between racquets. So a full burger would be racquet at the bottom with a ball on top, then another racquet, another ball etc with three or four members working together with a racquet on top. Obviously the round balls make the whole stack quite unstable so the challenge is to get the burger built and then move (together) down the hall around a series of cones without the burger collapsing. Very tricky indeed! As you can see the last photo above the girls led by Ciara did a very impressive job with four people balancing together
After a short drinks break it was out with the tennis nets to make things real. The kids worked in pairs or small groups to have little games with the object being to get the ball over the net to each other, in the court, and to hopefully try and build a few good rallies. As you can imagine there were times when balls were flying off in all directions but the kids showed some great skills too and with a little concentration they hit some lovely returns.
After a final break for drinks and snacks our last game was a firm favourite - King / Queen of the court. This is where one person throws the ball over the net for the member to return. If they return it over the net, in to the court and without it being caught without bouncing they live to go again and re-join the back of the queue. However, fail to get the ball back over the net or hit it out of the court or get caught then you join the bowlers side of the net trying to catch people out. The last person standing (not out) is the Queen or King of the Court! This game brings together all the things we had practiced around balance, hitting the ball accurately in the right direction and at the correct speed. It is a great game and one all the kids love no matter what side of the net they find themselves on.
Epping Forest Sportability Club is a multi-sports club for young people with mild to moderate physical and learning difficulties.