Initial situation

The children are trained before they have learned to play

Children need to play in a variety of ways

If we look at today’s world of play and movement for children, it quickly becomes clear that it is hardly comparable to that of a few decades ago. Unfortunately, the versatile, natural ball school of the streets, parks and courtyards has all but disappeared. Unfortunately, this also means that child-friendly, versatile and joyful motor experiences with and around the ball are lost, which children then lack when they start sport-specific training and quickly become overwhelmed. Prof. Dr. Klaus – founder of the Ball School Heidelberg – speaks here of the regrettable loss of street play culture.

Elementary ball skills such as throwing, catching, bouncing, dribbling, kicking and hitting used to be an integral part of children’s everyday motor skills. They are a basic prerequisite for learning many types of sport and used to be acquired in a variety of games, usually without guidance. However, unguided play, i.e. play without instructions and constant corrections from parents, trainers or instructors, is of great importance for children’s development.

Children usually intuitively adapt the demands of the game to their own abilities. They become creative and develop their own problem-solving skills for their play tasks. Children of kindergarten and preschool age do not actually need organized (club) training to acquire a wide range of motor skills and basic ball skills. Instead, they need an environment that offers them developmentally appropriate opportunities to move around sufficiently and play in a variety of ways and, above all, without supervision. Of course, encouragement from their parents also plays an important role here.

However, as many children do not have these opportunities in their living environment, or not enough of them, they are increasingly attending various sports clubs at a very young age. Girls and boys aged three to four in tennis clubs and tennis schools are no longer a rarity. Regardless of their motor development and lack of ball skills, children are often trained here from the very beginning, before they have learned to play.