For the Teacher

Underhand Throwing Skills

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Underhand Throwing Skills

Features a variety of exercises that enable children to throw underhand: ball bonding (making the ball your friend), drop and catch, making a 'bowl,' toss, figure 8, angel or rainbow, juggling, and dribbling.

Try some new techniques for using a ball for exercise and controlling a ball for fun.

  1. Students will learn how to control the ball.
    1. Students should hold the balls close to their bodies. This position is called the "tummy" position. Each student should then extend the ball away from his/her body, as if the student's stomach was as large as Santa's. This is known as the "Santa" position. The students should practice moving the ball to the two body positions. Then the students should be directed to touch the balls to the different parts of their bodies (ear, other ear, knee, other knee, feet, head, etc.).
    2. Drop and catch: The students hold the ball in the "Santa" position and then drop it on the ground, catching it on the bounce. Students should continue to drop and catch the ball.
    3. Catching the ball: The students should make a "bowl" with their hands by touching their little fingers together and spreading out the other fingers. Then the ball is tossed straight up, no higher than a student's head, and caught in the "bowl" made by their hands.
    4. Combination of b. and c.: Students toss the ball straight up, let it drop through and bounce on the ground, and then catch it in the "bowl."
    5. Figure 8: Students hold the ball in one hand. The hand will reach behind the same leg and give the ball to the opposite hand. Students with small hands may roll the ball on the ground. The students should repeat the exercise with the other hand.
    6. Rainbow: The students should stand sideways on the circle, so that the circle runs between their feet. The ball should be resting in the hand that is on the inside of the circle, and the inside arm should be close to the body. The students should then move the ball upward to above their head and place the ball in the hand that is on the outside of the circle. The hand with the ball should be moved downward until the arm is next to the body.
    7. Moving rainbow: Students toss the ball in the path of a rainbow from the hand inside the circle to the hand on the outside of the circle.
    8. Juggling: Students put the ball in one hand and toss it straight up, no higher than the head. The ball should move about three inches above the head, while the hand moves with the ball. As the ball drops downward, the hand should also drop downward, "absorbing" the ball. Students should juggle with both their right hand and their left hand.
      i) Dribbling: The students should use their fingers to push the ball to the ground with enough force so that the ball returns to the hand. The ball should remain below the waist. First, the students stand in one place, dribbling the ball with their left and right hands. Then, the students may dribble the ball forward, by pushing the ball ahead. Later, the students may dribble the ball while turning around.
  2. Students will understand the basic underhand throwing pattern.
    1. Starting position: Each student should have the ball resting in one hand, and the same arm should be extended in front of his/her body. The foot opposite the ball should be forward, with toes toward the target. The students' knees should be bent. The student should also be leaning forward on his/her opposite leg and should have the opposite arm resting behind his/her back.
    2. The swing: The student should swing the ball down, as his/her body rocks backward. Then the ball should swing forward as the student leans forward. The students should practice the swing with their right and left hands.

  1. Practice with a stationary object:
    1. Using a building or ball wall with a target line and standing about ten feet from the wall, students may practice the underhand throwing pattern.
    2. The release: The students should release the ball as it swings between their waist and shoulder and the arm should follow through to the wall. If the ball travels too high, it should be released sooner. If the ball rises too low, it should be held onto longer.
    3. Catching from a partner:
      1. The catchers should assume the catching position by making a "bowl" with their hands. The throwers should toss a beanbag or a fluff ball (using the underhand throwing pattern) into the "bowl" made by the catchers. The catchers should squeeze their fingers around the ball or beanbag without letting it touch their chest or forearms. Once the students become successful with the fluff ball or beanbag, they may use the six-inch playground ball to toss and catch.
      2. Bowling:
        1. The students should use the same throwing pattern as before, except their knees should be bent deeply and the ball should be released on the ground in a roll. The students may roll the ball to partners, a wall, or even bowling pins.
        2. Jai Alai:
          1. Students use plastic scoops to toss the ball, in an underhand motion, to a wall or partners.
          2. Baseball: Using a Velcro mitt and ball, students can toss the ball to a wall or a partner.