Overarm Throw

Stages of Development
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Throwing is a complex skill used in many sports and activities. Most children need to be taught to throw. Overarm and underarm are the most common type of throws. Children can start throwing as soon as they are sitting up. Picking up and throwing beanbags is a fun activity for babies and toddlers. The skill of throwing involves coordinating many parts of the body; the legs, trunk and arms. Children are not expected to have a fully developed overarm throw until Year 4.

Teaching tips

Most children need to be taught to throw, it isn’t a skill they pick up easily or quickly. Start with an invisible ball and practice making a big muscle arm and throwing as hard as you can. Then use beanbags or small balls that little hands can grasp easily. Use KIDDO’s teaching vocabulary for introducing the skill of overarm throwing:

  • Ready: Stand side on like a surfer
  • Make a big muscle arm (with your throwing arm)
  • Aim: Point where you are going to throw
  • Fire: Step and throw

Encourage children to use their opposite foot to throwing arm. This can be done through placing a piece of coloured tape or chalk mark on their shoe of their opposite foot. Providing a marker to step on to can help as well.

Developing Overarm Throw through play

Young children will attempt to throw, often with little control or power generation - it may look like a chopping action with their arm, facing front on. Reinforce KIDDO's teaching vocabulary at this time by using 'surfer pose, muscle arm and point' to assist your child with body positioning.

  • Start without a ball and introduce the the teaching cues to help children visualise action
  • Focus on distance over accuracy, place targets further away or have a net or other obstacle to throw over helps challenge children to develop force in their throw
  • Encouraging children to throw over a net or piece of rope tied between two trees can also help
  • Use small balls and beanbags that are easy for small hands to grip

Play KIDDO games to encourage a strong throw;

  • Build and Destroy or Rapid Fire are great games that focus on force
  • Clean up the Rubbish helps children through repetition
  • Set up a spider web of masking tape in a door way and try throwing scrunched up bits of paper (spiders) at it. How many spiders will stick to the spider web?
  • Build a target out of blocks or buckets and see if you can throw beanbags to know it down

Once your child has a basic understanding of power;

  • Work on the hip rotation and follow-through at this stage
  • Start practicing without a ball and then place challenging targets to encourage hip rotation and follow through
  • Play games such as  Shrink and Grow to challenge your child's power and accuracy

Further develop accuracy, and explore other ways to throw by;

  • Introducing accuracy challenges with Hit the Stumps
  • Experimenting with different throwing implements – nerf rockets, foam javelins etc.
  • Exploring sport-related throws, such as netball or basketball passing
Common errors
  • Standing front on to the target
  • Stepping with the foot on the same side as the throwing arm
  • No weight transfer
  • No follow-through

More overarm throw activities

children throwing balls
Kicking (soccer), Overarm Throw, Punt, Striking, Underarm Throw
Throwing at different size targets
Overarm Throw, Underarm Throw
Ready, Aim, Fire (overarm throw)
Overarm Throw, Underarm Throw