Wairakei Primary School are using the Physical Education resource 'Movewell'. It has a games-centred approach to develop students knowledge, attitudes and movement skills. Ohaaki classes have been trying their best to improve their striking and fielding skills by combining skills sessions with games focused on skills being learnt. Skills assessed include throwing with accuracy, choosing the most appropriate throw, and positioning your body to catch a ball and strike a ball with accuracy.
As teachers, it’s important to know what students have learnt and what their next steps are, so I took some time to work 1-on-1 with students to find out what the students could do.
Most students were very good at explaining that they had to move towards the ball to catch it. Moving towards the ball to catch it is still a skill students are trying to improve at. This involves moving to the ball in a controlled way, tracking the ball with your eyes into your hands, and determining which hand catching position is best. Sometimes higher hands and the fingers to the sky approach is best. At other times, the lower hands and bird's nest approach is best. This gives you more time to track the ball into your hands.
Many students feel more confident with throwing underarm and can do this accurately. Most students are working on improving their overarm throw. The biggest thing that needs improving is their stance and action. This involves standing sideways to your target, having a split stance with your front foot facing slightly forward towards where you want to throw. Your non-throwing arm should point at where you want to throw. Your throwing arm should be back in an uppercase L position. Then all at the same time you need to shift your weight onto your front foot, step forward with your back foot, twist your body and throw. These actions will help generate more power, so you can throw further.
Some students can accurately hit a ball off a stand or cone and when it is thrown to them. Many students are still working on improving their stance when hitting a ball off a stand or cone. This involves standing sideways to the ball, toes pointing towards it, feet shoulder width apart. In a slow motion, move the bat towards the ball to see if your swing will hit the ball. If not, adjust your swing so it does. Your swing should feel smooth where your body feels good and not twisted up because of a poor stance.
Throwing, catching and striking are skills we can all get better at. After working with students, I was very impressed with how well they were able to explain what they needed to do to be able to catch, throw and strike well. It’s important for students to work on these skills regularly, so they can perform them confidently. It would be great if you could take your child into the backyard or down to the park sometime to help them practise.