Catching is a manipulative skill that is closely associated with throwing, yet extremely different in nature. Relying on the ability of the eye to track an object, the skill involves absorbing and controlling the force of the object with a part of the body, usually the hands. Balance is also fundamental to the skill of catching--a wide and low stable base is necessary along with positioning the body in line with the flight of the object. Good balance is essential for successful catching in the early stages of development. The ability to catch is vital in order to play a wide range of games such as gaelic football, basketball, rugby, hurling, baseball, rhythmic gymnastics and playground games. A pupil’s inability to catch becomes evident to their peers extremely quickly, so plenty of opportunities to play and practise with objects of different sizes is essential to develop proficiency.
Things to consider
Contrary to general perception, it is far better to initially teach the catch using smaller objects. Learning to catch large objects, then moving to smaller objects can be detrimental to developing proficient catching technique because it encourages the use of the arms and chest to trap the object. It takes on average five years to become proficient at catching so pupils should be exposed to as many opportunities to practise the skill as possible.
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