Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kicking and Throwing Drills for Kickball

A fixture in many grade school physical education classes, kickball provides good exercise while also teaching teamwork and communication. Kickball's rules are almost identical to baseball's, except players kick a rolled rubber ball instead of hitting a pitched ball with a bat. Kickball players can keep their skills sharp with a few simple practice drills.
If you're all by your lonesome, you can still have an effective practice with just a kickball and a wall. Stand about 20 feet away and kick the ball at the wall. The ball will bounce off and roll back, simulating a pitch. Kick the ball again without stopping it. Continue kicking the ball into the wall for 10 consecutive kicks. If you have a practice partner, you can compete against each other, alternating kicks into the wall and scoring 1 point for each time your opponent misses the ball. Remember to try to contact the ball on your shoelaces and to swing through the ball, driving it with power.
Pair up with a teammate and simply kick or throw the ball to each other to practice catching technique. Vary the tosses, from high, lofting flies to harder, more direct throws and kicks. When catching a high fly ball, you want to hold your arms out in front of you like a basket, your elbows about four inches apart. Wrap your arms around the ball once it lands on the insides of your elbows. You also should keep your knees bent and try to cushion the ball into your body. Keep your fingers together to prevent them from getting jammed or bent backward. Even on line drives, try to smother the ball and pin it to your body rather than attempting to catch it with your hands.
Pair up with someone and stand about 10 feet apart. Throw the ball back and forth with a one-armed underhand motion to practice quick flips near bases, then back up five paces and practice two-handed chest throws, which can be a useful technique on quick infield plays. Finally, step back until you're about 30 feet apart and throw with a strong overhand or sidearm release, stepping into the throw to generate power and simulate throwing from the outfield.
Using tape or chalk, mark a strike zone on a wall and practice rolling pitches into the designated box. Try to roll 10 consecutive strikes before taking a break. For greater difficulty, try rolling strikes while practicing your curve ball. If you're right-handed, rotating your arm around the outside of the ball at the time of release will make the ball curve left. Rotating your arm around the inside, so your little finger points up on release, will make the ball curve to the right.

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