With baseball/tee-ball/softball season on the way let’s work on some catching skills!
- Start with a bigger ball – Baseballs are small and can be challenging to catch when just learning. Start with a bigger ball that is slightly deflated to help work on trapping the ball in the hands, then progress to a fully inflated ball. Once they are able to catch bigger balls consistently, you can start to decrease the size to smaller rubber balls, and slowly transition them to catching a tennis ball and eventually a baseball.
- Use bubbles or other slower moving objects – Starting with catching bubbles or balloons in the hands can help slow down the object they are trying to catch, which can make it easier to visually track into their hands. Once they are able to catch it, you can work on hitting or tossing it back to them at various speeds to make it more challenging and start to improve reaction times.
- Start close – When working on hand-eye coordination for catching, start by tossing a ball from a close distance (1-2 feet) then slowly progress the distance. When starting at these closer distances, start by tossing underhand to allow them more time to visually track it, and as you start to get further away, you can start to incorporate more overhand tosses (often beginning with lobbing it softly).
- Give them a larger target – Sometimes it can be challenging to catch in their hands when they are just learning. You can also have them hold on to a small bucket and work on catching the ball in a bigger target. This can help work on confidence in their ability to catch and can be a good place to start to work on visually tracking until the ball is secured.
- Help with the set up – When first learning to catch, it can be helpful to get them positioned in a way that will allow success. You can work on extending arms, making sure palms are up and try to make sure they are looking at the ball, or at you, to make it easier to visually attend. Another way you can help them set up is to have them stand on a specific spot, like a color spot or in between objects, to help maintain the position that you set them up in.
- And most importantly – Have fun!
Here is are some other posts that may be helpful:
- Practicing Catching
- Early Ball Skills
- More Tips for Ball Skills
- Overhand Throwing
- Underhand Throwing
We also have these products for Ball Skills: