Profile Informations

Login Details

or login

First name is required!
Last name is required!
First name is not valid!
Last name is not valid!
This is not an email address!
Email address is required!
This email is already registered!
Password is required!
Enter a valid password!
Please enter 6 or more characters!
Please enter 16 or less characters!
Passwords are not same!
Terms and Conditions are required!
Email or Password is wrong!

sports skills

  • Learning How To Follow The Rules

    This is the last post in this month's series about sporting skills, and today we're focusing on following the rules.

    This is a really difficult concept to teach children. On the one hand, it's really important that children develop an understanding of the rules about t any particular game, and that they follow the rules so the play remains structured and fair. On the other hand, being overly dogmatic about adherence to the rules can suck the fun out of games, making children reluctant to join in.

    So how can you teach children what the rules are, and how to follow them, without turning playtime into a chore.

    1. Keep It Simple

    Adjust the rules of the game according to the age and developmental stage of your child. You shouldn't expect a four year old to have a good working knowledge of the off-side rule, but you can expect them to use their feet not their hands, and to play the ball not the person. Pick the essential rules from the game and teach those first. Then as your child gets older and more experienced you can gradually increase their understanding.

    2. Your Child The Referee

    It can be hard for children to remember the rules while trying to play to the best of their ability. Help them to focus on the rules alone by making them teh referee / umpire / judge. This works especially well if the players are Mum and Dad rather than a sibling, as natural sibling rivalry can cloud a young ref's judgement leading to arguments. Have your mini ref remember two or three important rules, arm them with the whistle and get playing. You may want to break the rules deliberately a few times to give them something to do. This is also a great way for children to experience a little power over the parents in a fun reversal of normal roles.

    3. Teach Sportsmanship Too

    Learning good sportsmanship is just as important as learning the rules. Nobody likes a sore loser or a boasting winner, so being a good sportsman is just as important as developing other sporting talents.

    One way to help children understand the difference between good and bad sporting behaviour is when the adults in their life act as good role models or play act the 'wrong' way. For example, two adults could challenge each other to a race, then when the loser throws an epic tantrum about the race not being fair or the track / shoes / weather being wrong, the children witnessing this fall out will get a good giggle, and a demonstration of how not to behave.

    4. Child-Led Rules

    Ask your child to invent a simple game, with a set of rules designed by them. It can be as simple as an obstacle course over the climbing frame, so long as the game has rules. This gives them the opportunity to see the importance of rules and how following them is what makes a game fun and challenging.

    Encouragement Over Criticism

    It's important that children are encouraged more than criticised in order to keep them motivated and engaged. This can be difficult to achieve when you are on the watch for rule infringements, so pay equal attention to all the things your child does well, especially when they demonstrate good sporting conduct.

  • Learning How To Play In A Team

    We mastered some of the more basic sporting skills earlier this month in the 'How To Catch' and 'How To Hit' guides.

    Now it's time to get our teeth into something I little more challenging: team work!

    From birth to pre-school parent praise is 100% focused on individual achievement. Sitting, crawling, walking, self-feeding, potty-training - these are all solo activities where the accomplishment of one child is lauded as if worth of a Nobel Prize.

    Little wonder then that by the time children hit the sociable ages of 3 and 4, working as a team to achieve a common goal is an alien concept.

    Here we take look at the skills needed to be a successful team player, and how you can help your child develop them. You don't need any fancy sporting equipment, just the play equipment you have to hand in your own back garden.

    Teamwork: Why Bother?

    Team games offer far more benefits than the simple thrill of a win. By regularly participating in team activities, children: - learn how to communicate with others - develop self-esteem through their contribution - develop trust in others - learn how to share and co-operate.

    Team activities are an integral part of the school experience, so being able to play in a team will help create positive experiences for your child.

    Many children also find it beneficial to play in a team outside of school, facilitating the development of new friendships.

    The Art Of Teaching Teamwork

    Before you bravely embark on any of these team building activities, here are a few tips to help you on your way.

    1. Like a good Scout or Girl Guide, you must always be prepared. Before even suggesting an activity, consider how well the task fits with the children who will be playing, and make sure you have all the equipment needed to hand. Nothing sucks the fun out of playtime like wasting ten minutes raiding the garage for a ball, or having a child sulk on the sidelines because the game is too complicated for them to take part.

    2. Pick your battles. If the purpose of the game is to teach teamwork, focus on this rather than improving your child's sporting prowess or knoweldge of complex rules. There will be plenty of time to teach those skills later.

    3. Talk about the game later. Draw attention to the times you noticed teamwork skills to help you child understand what playing in a team is all about.

    1. Identifying Strengths

    The most effective teams make best use of the individual talents of team members, so it's important children are able to recognize their own talents and the abilities demonstrated by others.

    A fun way to work on this skill is to set up an obstacle course in the back garden. There should be different challenges like kicking a football up the slide, or throwing a bean bag onto the top of the climbing frame. Challenge the children to figure out who will be best at each task. One person leaves the base at a time, completes their task, then returns to the base to tag a team mate relay-style.

    2. Team Communication

    This is a fun game to play in the Summer. Put the children into pairs and provide each pair with an empty bucket, and a bucket filled with water. One child climbs to the top of the climbing frame and must pour the water into the bucket held by the other child. However one child must be blinded (you decide which) can is guided by the directions of their team mate.

    3. Trusting Team Mates

    Create an obstacle course. The children hold hands and complete the obstacle course as one unit. The twist is that all but the lead child is blindfolded, so the rest of the team rely completely on their leader.

    What Next?

    You can get more tips and tricks in the rest of our sporting skills series.

  • Learning How To Hit Something - No Not Your Brother

    Hot on the heels of our post on learning how to throw and catch, we're taking a look at how to hit something.

    Why Hit Things?

    Establishing these sporting skills in younger life will help your child to participate in team sports both in and out of school, which is great for both physical and mental well-being.

    In addition to the sporting element, being able to hit something is immensely satisfying in itself and a great way to relieve stress and release tension. One of the earliest lessons parents learn is that it is much more effective to show a child what you would like them to do, than tell them what they shouldn't. If you have a little ball of energy intent of bashing siblings or something in the house, taking them outside for a game of bat and ball can really help refocus their attention.

    Make It Easy

    It's easier to hit: - something large than something small - something moving slowly than something moving fast - something that moves predictably than something erratic - something with your hand than something with an item held in your hand.

    Start by patting a balloon back and forth between you and your child using just hands.

    When they are ready to move on to using a tool and ball, start by rolling the ball along the ground. Your child will only need to judge horizontal movement and speed and can forget about height.

    Increase The Difficulty

    Once your child is able to knock a ball back and forth with a racket, or hit a bowled ball with a bat, it's time to start honing those skills.

    To develop the ability to hot with the correct level of force, practice hitting a tennis ball up a slide with just enough force so it stops on the climbing frame platform.

    Practice putting by laying plastic cups horizontally on the grass and assigning points to each one.

    To develop accuracy, practice chipping balls through the gaps in the climbing frame ladder. If more than one child is playing you can give this game a competitive edge by giving each gap a points value.


    Swingball or an adjustable height net are both inexpensive items of sports equipment that can make playing with a bat and ball more fun, and won't take up too much room in your garden.

    Alternatively, a table tennis table can help older children practice hand-to-eye coordination and speed up their reaction times, which will help improve their abilities in other sports too.


    Link With Other Skills

    The ability to hit something relies heavily on hand-eye co-ordination, as does throwing and catching. These skills don't need to be learnt in any particular order, so let your child take the lead and go with what they enjoy.

    What Next? You can get more tips and tricks in the rest of our sporting skills series.

  • Learning How To Catch And Throw - Not As Easy As It Looks

    It's probably been a while since you learned how to catch a throw a ball, so you've probably forgotten how difficult it is. If your child is struggling to learn this vital sports skill this handy guide will help you give them the understanding and practical support they need to become a first rate ball handler.

    Why Ball Skills Are Important Most children learn how to throw and catch a ball in their own time. Some however will struggle with this skill until a later age than their peers. A simple game of throw and catch helps develop hand-eye co-ordination, and promotes bilateral co-ordination, essential for tasks that involve using both sides of the body at the same time (so most of them then).

    Children who are unable to throw and catch when their friends can may suffer from self-esteem problems and feel reluctant to join in games with their friends. As a result they miss out on opportunities to practice the skill they need to develop. for older children the ability to throw and catch a ball is an essential foundation for sports such as tennis, basketball and dodge ball. Without this skill they may struggle to participate in team games.

    Be Sympathetic Try to avoid uttering phrases such as 'when I was your age' and 'but it's easy'. Instead focus on the fact that we all have different things that we struggle with but eventually with practice overcome. If you can give an example of a simple skill it took you a while to master this will serve as great inspiration to your child and build the trust between you.

    It may also help if you save the practice activities outlined below for a private space such as your back garden, where peers won't be looking on.

    Making It Easy To teach your child how to throw and catch you need to make the process as simple as possible, then gradually increase the level of difficulty until you are able to stand 10 ft apart and confidently throw a tennis ball back and forth.

    A less challenging way to become familiar with the size and weight of a tennis ball is through rolling it back and forth on the ground to each other. Enjoy a casual conversation as you do it.


    Another way to practice is to use a swing ball. You can use this together or your child can practice alone, standing in one spot and catching the ball in their hands each time it comes around.

    Now you are ready to try throwing and catching it. Start gently and relatively close together. When you have completed a number of successful catches, take a step back and so on. If a tennis ball is too tricky, use a larger ball with a little give to it (not a soccer ball) like a beach ball, volley ball or the type you cold play dodge ball with. For younger children, a balloon is great to practice catching skills with as it is large and slow.

    You can find more tips in our sports skills series of blog posts.

  • Helping Kids Stay Motivated With Sports

    There are lots of reasons why a child may struggle to stay motivated with physical activity. Some children are just more easily discouraged than others, regardless of their actual ability. Others find sports difficult due to a lack of fitness, or difficulties with co-ordination.

    A lack of motivation can set up a destructive circle. These children are more likely to walk away from the challenges offered by physical activity, making them less likely to develop sports skills, and therefore less likely to participate in the future, gradually falling further and further behind their peers.

    Being a gifted sports person isn't essential, but being able to confidently and competently enjoy sporting activities is the foundation for good physical health and an enjoyable social life.

    Here are some tips to help your little ones master the things that they find tricky, and help them stay motivated to keep trying.

    Meet Them At Their Current Level

    Work with the skill base as it currently is, not what it should be.

    Maybe they should be able to throw and catch a tennis ball by now. But they can't. And continuously making them practice a skill they have very limited success at is going to be very discouraging for them. Take the skill they are struggling with and break it down into its component parts.

    For example, to throw and catch a tennis ball they need to: - Be familiar with a tennis balls size and weight - Successfully apply force a direction to throw a ball - Successfully track the movement of a ball coming towards them - Position their hands appropriately - Apply the correct amount of force to catch it.

    It doesn't sound so easy when you break it down into all the different stages.

    Lucky for you your brain and body adapt to the situation in as little time as it takes for your friend to shout 'heads up'. For children it isn't that easy. So you need to make it easier for them.

    Inspired by this post, there will be a series of articles this month about tackling basic sporting skills with children. The first of these will be learning how to throw and catch.

    Part of making it easier will involve removing as many frustrations as possible. One of the worst things about learning how to play any ball sports is constantly loosing then fetching the ball.

    Swingballs are a great way to practice hand eye-ordination as the child doesn't have the frustration of scampering after an errant ball.

    Be Open About Your Own Challenges

    One of the most frustrating things for children who struggle with sports, is to see how effortless it is for those around them. They probably feel like they are the only one. It's important to be honest and share stories about the things you struggle at. Maybe you have always been a natural at football but couldn't swim until you were 18. Talk about how that made you feel. Children do not have a very large circle of reference. If everyone they see around them is great at sports, they might feel like the only person in the world who isn't.

    Mix It Up

    Mix up your activities with something you know they excel at. Maybe they suck at rounders but are great at football. Make sure you switch between the too. Or maybe sports aren't their thing, so switch between outdoor games and board games, running about and arts and crafts. Whatever gives them a healthy balance of challenge and boost to their self esteem.

    Nobody wants to spend all their time out of their comfort zone. Some of the time is great for personal development. All of the time would just about drive you crazy. As parents, you can help your children strike a healthy balance.

5 Item(s)

My Cart

You have no items in your shopping cart.