Are you coaching a flag football team? Have a bunch of eight year olds who can barely catch?
Or maybe you’re working with your son trying to help them catch. Or even just playing catch at the beach. These are five tips that will help you work with your child.
These work for football but they could be for any sport with some modifications.
Use an underhand throw to begin. It is less threatening than an overhand throw and easier for kids to track. As you progress to an overhand throw be sure to use a real throwing mostion (stepping, rotating body). Just be sure to keep the velocity of the ball to an appropriate level. This allows the receiver to see what they most likely will see when playing. It also models good form for them as throwers.
Start about ten feet away. Too close and they don’t have time to react. As they get better, step further back.
Use a Nerf football: This might not be practical for an entire team but kids are less afraid of the softer ball and tend to keep their eyes open and watch the ball better. Another idea is to use tennis balls. They are cheap, easy to catch and make them focus on a smaller target.
Keep hands in a ready position. For most catches the thumbs will be close together. The hands should be up about shoulder height and the elbows should be bent. Fingers should be open and facing the quaterback or thrower.
Keep the body in a ready position too. Kids should be in an athletic position; knees bent, weight over the balls of the feet, shoulders down, head up with eyes looking at the thrower.
If you use these five football catching tips, your child or team will be a lot more successful. They will have more confidence about being thrown to. And they will have more fun.
My next post will be a simple progression to use so that your son (or daughter) will have NFL type of hands. Who knows…maybe they will be the next Jerry Rice!