Throwing A Ball

Throwing a ball has always been a part of my life. Growing up I threw any kind of ball you could think to throw. The type of ball being thrown or passed often depended on the time of year. During the summers a baseball was thrown, or a tennis ball being used in place of the baseball. As summer moved into fall, the football became the ball of choice. Then, as fall moved into winter the basketball would be introduced. The basketball would be passed or shot instead, but you get the idea. It seems cerebral palsy played a role in how I would throw, pass, or shoot any kind of ball. The rigidly throughout my body made my muscles tighter. It feels like the tightness in my muscles has tended to cause weakness. Therefore, making it more challenging to make a throwing motion. The most important thing for me was to throw all those different types of athletic balls. Even with cerebral palsy making it more challenging to learn. It seemed learning to make it work in some form took precedent. This week it came to my attention that my throwing motion could use some improvement. Bernard wanted to work on my throwing motion. We wondered into one of the rooms at the gym and threw medium size balls into a basket. The exercise was meant to look at my throwing motion.

An important part of growing up was playing outside. One of the most common activities going on outside was playing sports. The ability to participate in neighborhood games seemed to require learning how to throw different kinds of balls. My desire to learn to throw also had much to do with my interest in sports. In memory, it feels like there was challenge in learning the throwing motion. Some of the movements being shown were difficult to replicate. The situation often led me to simply do my best. As it turned out, doing my best in the neighborhood worked pretty well. There were ways found to participate in most the sports going with friends. I found ways to throw a baseball, tennis ball, and football. With practice, shooting, dribbling, and passing a basketball was accomplished. The motion might have been slightly different from friends, but it was working. There wasn’t much power behind my throwing or shooting motion. The tension from cerebral palsy was holding back the flexibility to gain velocity with the movements. That tension also seemed to hold back my development of strength, which would have added length to a basketball shot or football pass.

Even with my throwing motion being slightly off, just playing was helping cerebral palsy improve. The activity level was strengthening my muscles. My muscles were often tight and felt limiting. However, the constant movement of being an active child was making things easier. My ability to find ways of participating also helped me feel included. It was possible to participate in everything going on in the neighborhood. My muscle tightness did hamper most things I did, but there was always a spot. While playing baseball often times I would pitch, it worked well for me, not being able to throw the ball too far. While playing basketball, my game revolved around being a good passer and playing defense. My basketball skills taken place due to my lack of strength when it came to shooting. The strength and coordination to have a three-point shot get to the rim eluded my skills. Still, it was about finding things inside of each game I could do, rather than allowing discouragement to hold me out. But, it’s not to say discouragement didn’t get to my emotions. The lack of strength to keep up helped propel me to practice on my own to improve. It felt important to get as good at playing the sports we played as I could. Driving toward that improvement was also helping CP.

While the throwing motion worked growing up, it could be improved. When we began working on improving my throwing this week, the lesson caught me by surprise. It didn’t occur to me how the movement could change. The weakness in my core seemed to be hampering my throwing motion. There was also trouble with my shoulder movement along with the release point. They all felt like variables that might not be too important in the grand scheme of things. But, while we had the time to strengthen my motion, it would be advantageous to work on the movement. We had put in plenty of work to reach the point of improving my throwing motion. Lately, many of our sessions have been spent on transverse movement. Transverse movements as I understand them are rotational movements in the transverse plane. These movements include any twisting motion across the body. We have been working on these movements from one side to the other, strengthening the core, and increasing coordination across my body. The sessions have been challenging, as I move different weighted exercise balls from my left to right, or from lower left to upper right. All of the work seems to help increase coordinated movement side to side, instead of just focusing on front to back movements. The thrilling part has been experiencing all the growth.

With a further strengthened core, it was time to work on my throwing motion. As a kid, throwing wouldn’t have come to mind as a gradual process. The objective at a young age was to throw however the motion worked out. Now, we had time to turn throwing into a process of piecing things together. After working on rotational movements to increase stability in my core, we went into a room at the gym. The objective was to through medium size beach balls into a basket. The basket to be thrown into appeared as a large laundry basket. So, I stood about twenty-five feet away and attempted to make baskets. After throwing twenty of these medium beach balls and only making a couple, Bernard helped with the throwing pattern. It was becoming challenging to toss the balls on the correct line toward the basket. Two fundamentals around my throwing motion could be tweaked for better accuracy. My release point could be better, but probably more importantly my follow through was absent. The right shoulder was stopping mid-throw instead of moving through to finish. I requested for Bernard to show me how I was making the movement. Watching the example of my movement versus the correct way of throwing was helping with my understanding. Once I began throwing in a more productive manner, the difference was felt immediately. The proper throwing motion was more challenging to execute, but seemed to yield better results.

It was amazing to me how different the throwing motion was when learned. The motion also required more strength to execute than I would have thought. Engaging in all the transverse movements we had been doing became clear during the session of throwing. The core felt very involved when completing the throws. The motion required a more forward moving arm angle, aided by strength and stability in the core. The next challenge of the proper throwing motion was my point of release. The ball was let go at a higher point, with the shoulder more involved, resulting in a ball traveling more directly along the intended path. The final aspect of throwing was coordinating all the movement patterns. Making the new process come together to create an on-target toss will be the next challenge. Getting all of the information to synch together will take time. For now, the mid-section on my body was sore from the new movement.  But, it was exciting to have the strength and stability to work on a better throwing motion. The process shows me that we continue to improve cerebral palsy symptoms in my life.










One thought on “Throwing A Ball

  1. This sounds so very exciting for you. I am grateful for Bernard in your life! You have always liked to throw! Transverse movement is an awesome focus.


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