Ready for Rounders

The children in Form 1 have had to learn quickly. They only started learning the rules of Rounders this half term and, in a few days’ time, they will be playing in their very first House Match. Saxon and Angle pride will be at stake, but I must say, on the evidence of what I have seen of 1SB’s lesson, they are taking it all very seriously indeed.

The game of Rounders allows the children to put into practice some of the skills they have worked on during the year in PE and Games. They will be running, throwing and catching and, of course, they will be striking the ball with the bat. When I was a child, in four years of playing Rounders at school I have no memory of ever making contact with the ball on the narrow round bat we used. However, for the Form 1 children at Eversfield, who are still developing their hand-eye co-ordination, we use a greatly simplified system to allow them to achieve success with the bat.

The ball perches on top of a cone balanced on a post. On a signal from Mr Webb, the child strikes the ball with a specially shorted cricket bat known as a paddle bat. Only when they have mastered this, and gained the satisfaction of hitting the ball, will the children go on to receive a ball actually bowled at them. Many of the children I watched were able to send the ball with some power across the rounders pitch, although a back stop was positioned to collect any balls that were missed.

Although Rounders is a relatively straightforward game, there is still a lot to learn in a short space of time. To help the children, Mr Webb initially used plastic spot mats on which the fielders had to stand. They now know where to go behind the posts and no longer need the spots. As I watched, when the batter struck the ball, Mr Webb called the fielders into action, encouraging them to throw the ball towards one of the posts. All the fielders were very actively involved, ready to spring forward if required.

The children reviewed their progress between innings, as well as identifying areas for improvement at the end of the session. By Form 2, they will be ready to play a more developed version of Rounders and, when they enter Upper School, they will be able to choose whether to continue with Rounders or apply their skills by learning Cricket. Either way, having watched the children of 1SB working so hard in their lesson, I am sure they will make their first House Match a truly thrilling spectacle.