ThisIrishBoy started his GAA ‘career’ earlier this Spring. Enthusiastically he bounces off to training every week. In under 6’s it is more about having fun than perfecting the sport – as it should be.
The reality however is, it quickly becomes as much about skill and success as it does fun. I can see it already, especially in the boys. The research is stark when it comes to the percentage of children who give up sport after 12 years of age. An age when the value of children remaining engaged in sports related activity is supported in all kinds of research. Often times if a child lacks the confidence in sport they turn away from the very activity they love.
Seeing a need to further develop teaching the skills of Gaelic Football to children of all ability levels, Barry Anderson developed the Spot On ball. He believes that providing more confidence will keep children involved.
Barry of Spot On Sports kindly sent us a Spot On ball to try-the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Unfortunately as an expat mom I myself didn’t have the understanding or skill to help ThisIrishBoy when he eagerly wanted to practice at home.
I hadn’t a notion of a handpass, and neither did he!
The Spot On ball has been a game changer for us. With its unique visual supports it shows children how to hold, hand pass and kick the ball. It has helped build ThisIrishBoy’s confidence even in a few short weeks.
ThisIrishDad took the ball to under 6’s girls training one Saturday morning. He and the other trainers (who actually know GAA) were impressed with the position of the visual supports on the ball. Girls who for weeks had been having difficulty, quickly grasped the hand pass technique when using the Spot On ball. The green ‘kick’ strip helped the girls identify where to try to kick the ball.
With only one Spot On ball at training, the girls did look for the visual supports on the other training balls. The trainers will continue to use the Spot On ball until the girls master the skills. Having used it only for a few short weeks we can’t comment on its durability over time.
The visual supports of the Spot On ball will no doubt provide support to children who may have difficulty following verbal instructions or have difficulty with movement and coordination.