Sunday, June 22, 2014

Alex's Saturday Sports Day - Basketball



Song:  Come Saturday Morning

Group:  The Sandpipers




As Alex's academic schedule is different in the Summer...
we must adapt his other activities to his study schedule.

As Alex will be in High School next year...
and they will have mandatory PE...
I decided to get Alex ready for the various sports they will be playing.

I had categorized the sports into...
Session 1:  Dribbling and Shooting (Basketball)...
Session 2:  Throwing and Catching (Velcro Ball / Football / Flying Disc / Boomarang)...
Session 3:  Kicking and Racket Sports (Soccer / Badminten).

Each Saturday will consist of one session.

On Saturdays
(as today was the Summer Solstice)...
we will start each session during the cool evening hours.

On Sundays...
we will either go long distance mountain biking...
or I will take him swimming
(Tomorrow, we will be taking him swimming at Lake Tahoe).

This will give Alex the major gross motor skills to be able to pick up 
almost any sport relatively easily.

Soon...
I will also buy a couple of smaller caliber rifles for Alex and I to go out shooting with.

We will eventually move up to larger calibers for long distance shooting.

It is a part of the pioneer and cowboy values of old...
and of which so many recent generations of children have missed out on:

Talk straight (no deceptive / disrespectful words)...
Act straight (no deceptive / disrespectful actions)...
and...
Shoot straight 
(unify the mind/body through the body...
then control the body through the mind).


In order to hit a target at long range...
regardless of the environmental factors at the time one shoots...
consistent accuracy demands mind / body unification and calmness.


As part of the symptoms of a child on the spectrum (although not necessarily so)...
is poor or delayed motor control (gross and fine).  

Alex's gross motor control was just delayed.
His nervous system has, since, sufficiently matured 
to now be able to coordinate his body far more easily.

As I have said before...
when I was young (until about 8 years old)...
I had very poor gross motor control.

My legs ran at different speeds (more push off from the leg through the foot)...
...no matter how much I tried to run straight...
as my right leg had far more push off than the left...
I kept running in large circles

(in order to reach a distant objective...
I had to aim many degrees to the right
and run a great parabola to the destination...
or I had to keep resetting the angle and continue in stages :)


It was only through years of multiple sports
that I had finally gained my gross motor control...
 which then led me to much deeper levels of training...
in some later physical endeavors.



This is at a nearby park...
just a few miles down from our mountain neighborhood.

What I love about Reno 
(in the mountains where we live)...
is that even on hot days...
there is almost always a cooling breeze blowing...
and at night...
the air cools greatly.

Besides the cooling breezes...
we live over a mile up in elevation...
and as a result...
even though the direct sun's rays are sometimes strong in the day...
the air simply cannot retain its heat (which is a dry heat anyway).

The air here is always fresh, clean, breezy, and mostly cool.

-----------

Alex had never dribbled a basketball before this day.

His first response was to slap at the top of the ball
in order for it to, once again, be forced downwards.

I then showed Alex how to match the speed of the ball with the dribbling hand
before it reached the top of the bounce...
and to then smoothly send it on its way down 
using a coordinated action of the arm and hand.

He had caught on very quickly
(much more quickly than I had when I was young).


I then had Alex shoot from various distances.


I first had him use whatever means of shooting had seemed comfortable to him.

What had surprised me was that I had not shown him how to do a jump shot.

This means that he had seen others do it at his school...
and he was able to learn from them visually.

Although it is the norm for neurotypical children...
this is a big deal for children on the spectrum.

I had seen that Alex's nervous system hadn't sufficiently matured
when I had him try to copy some of my actions...
as late as last year.

His system was simply not ready before.

He can now learn through direct physical modeling.

Because of this...
today was a great day!






Although most people would not consider merely shooting a basketball at a basket
as being an endurance exercise...
when you consider all of the complete misses...
and of having to run after each one before the next shot...
after one and a half hours...
it becomes an endurance exercise  :)



I just had to show him a one arm release (non shooting hand as a ball guide)...one time.

He successfully shot using the technique most of the time from then on
(a successful launch...not necessarily a successful landing :)





Almost in...
and then...success.


Before Alex could move to the next distance...
he had to make ten good baskets.


Alex then moved to the mid-circle...







and made ten good baskets.


Alex had a short rest...


and he then moved to the top of the circle.



Look at his jump shot!





I then had Alex jog around the basketball court a couple of times...
while dribbling the ball the whole way.





Alex learned very quickly, and...
 with but a couple of misdribbles
and a subsequent chasing of the ball...
he finished with a big smile.

We took another break...
during which Alex...
talking with his typical optimism...
asked me about dunking a ball  :)

I said for him to not even think about it.  

I told him that our next Basketball session would involve a game of H-O-R-S-E  :)

I then told him how, a few sessions later...
 we would then...and only then... move up to a game of 1 on 1...
and how neither of them,  I had assured him, would involve any dunking  :)


After our short break...
we walked to a lower field overlook.

I told him we would be doing the ball kicking practice there.



Alex trying to do a one handed ball spin and one finger ball balance.


At this park there are two water misters for cooling off on hot days.



I had Alex try them...
but I had forgotten to get the basketball from him...
which made subsequent ball spinning and balancing more difficult.





Alex kept trying the one finger spinning ball balance trick.


We then walked over to another lower field lookout.


Alex again trying the spinning ball balance trick  :)


We have made some very good memories at this park.

Alex used to ride his EzyRoller here...
and I have seen some of the most beautiful sunsets from here.


We walked around until sunset.

As tonight's sunset was not spectacular
 (spectacular sunsets usually come with high altitude clouds being present)...
we went home...
showered...
and had a nice dinner.

We talked of tomorrow's Lake Tahoe day of swimming.

Alex is going to have a great time there.

Lake Tahoe is but an hour drive from home...
and is a frequent destination for us.

My next article will be
on Alex's swim at Lake Tahoe.

It should prove to be another great day!










2 comments:

  1. Glad that Alex seemed to enjoy playing basketball and picked it up so quickly. PE classes can be psychologically challenging for many kids so it is very good to work on those skills.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alex really surprised me. His gross motor skills have really improved. He is having a lot of fun learning various physical skills.

    ReplyDelete

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