Throwing and Catching

Do you shy away from these activities?

I was thrilled to actually learn how to throw a football this past year at the age of 55. It is not that I had never thrown one before but I actually was taught the skills involved in doing so. I also picked up some important skills of catching a variety of balls. Who said you can not teach old dogs new tricks? Why is this important? Throwing and catching are basic movement skills for athletics and since we are all participants in the the sport of life that makes us athletes. This is one of the premises of the Z-Health system. Whether it is playing with our kids, grandkids, friends’ kids, or the pick up games at social functions, or athletic pursuits whether competitive or recreational, these skills allow full participation in life events.

There is an excellent body of work called the “Canadian Sport for Life – Long-Term Athletic Development” which lays out the age related skills needed for this development. It begins with “Active Start” for ages 0-6 and ends with “Active for Life”. Throwing and catching are two “basic movement skills” of Active Start along with running, jumping, twisting, wheeling, and kicking. The good news is that even if we did not pick up these skills at that early age it is not too late. Because of the capacity for neuroplasticity (nervous systems ability to adapt) in the brain, skills can be acquired at any age.

The problem that many people have with the skills of throwing and catching is that we were never actually taught them. Unfortunately, it is usually the case that those who have an innate ability participate in these skills and those that do not end up shying away from participating. The good news is, that since they are skills, we can learn them. Whether innately capable or not, there are even more fundamental components to these skills that can be learned and trained, giving us the capacity to participate and improve performance no matter what the level of our ability.

Participating in the Z-Health “Skill and Style” course gave me a greater appreciation for the fundamental mobility drills (R-Phase; see “Your Body – Tuning In and Tuning Up” in the lecture series) and the vision skill drills of the Z-Health system. The mobility drills are the “ABC’s” that make up the more complex skills of life. Having the capacity to move all the joints with control at different speeds is the foundation for doing all other activities. And vision is also crucial for functioning skillfully in almost all activities (see “Beyond Eyesight” in lecture series). If our vision skills of convergence, divergence, tracking are underdeveloped, the challenge of catching a moving object is greatly increased. The good news is that they are also skills that can be developed.

Come learn these skills and have a ball!