Home » Ball Bubbas teaches children the skills for a whole host of different sports

Ball Bubbas teaches children the skills for a whole host of different sports

Want to get your little ones into something sporty from a young age, but don’t know which sport to choose? Well now you don’t have to pigeonhole them into a certain game as popular Plymouth group Ball Bubbas teaches them the skills needed for a whole range of them. 

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We’ve all been there. Choosing clubs and groups to take our kids to and not really knowing what they’re going to enjoy. Unless they’re old enough to express a specific interest, we go with our instincts (or what us as parents are into ourselves!) and often send them down a football or rugby track because we don’t know any different. 

But Ball Bubbas can change that. It’s a group for 2 to 6 year olds which teaches fundamental ball handling skills to children – and not just for one sport! 

Ball Bubbas prepares kids for all sorts of sports

The programme is designed to focus on a variety of different ball sports as the core skills needed for these games are the same. Instructors at the weekly classes enable children to develop a wide range of movement, agility and coordination skills, giving them the opportunity to try lots of different ball sports whilst having fun. 

So there’s no need to limit them to say football, rugby, basketball or tennis – when they can be learning the skills needed for all of them at the same time in one session. It’s a seriously great idea, don’t you think? 

Ball Bubbas is a passion project between well-known city gymnastics club Gym Bubbas, and Plymouth City Patriots Basketball Club. They are two experienced sporting organisations who have combined their expertise to form the venture aimed at introducing and developing young children’s interest in sport. Mixing Gym Bubbas’ deep knowledge of child development and Plymouth City Patriots’ expert coaches, Ball Bubbas offers a truly unique programme in ball sports.

They currently teach more than 40 children but are looking to add more classes to the schedule.

Kate Child co-owns Ball Bubbas with husband Wayne, and Patriots Head Coach and Director of Basketball, Paul James. She said: “The idea is that at their core, all ball sports require the same core skills. So, if we can teach these core skills from a young age this will give the children an advantage when choosing a particular ball sport when they get older. The idea was to give children the opportunity to try lots of different ball sports rather than just focus on one, so that once they have learnt the core skills they can decide which sport they enjoy the most and then go off to specialise in it as they get older.”

Ball Bubbas teaches children aged 2 to 6

Sessions are held at Plymouth Marjon University on a Saturday morning for 2 to 4 year olds, and 3 to 6 year olds, and at the Gym Bubbas’ Plympton base on a Thursday for 2 to 4 year olds. Each 45 minute lesson starts with 5 minutes of ball play, allowing the children to run off some energy, meet friends and get settled ready for the session – the remainder is structured and led by an instructor. Throughout each session the children use various equipment and play different games to learn the skills needed for lots of ball sports. For example the session I went to, the two and three year olds used balls, beanbags, balloons, cones, racquets and scarves. So they certainly weren’t getting bored! 

Children aged 2 to 4 complete the class with their parent or carer. So there’s no getting away with it for us adults – but just think of the steps you’d have done by the end of it! And to be honest, I reckon some of the Dads I watched were having a LOT of fun! 

As the children get older they complete sessions more independently, although sometimes they still need their adult to join in to complete some of the more complex skills. 

Ball Bubbas also operates in many schools across Plymouth teaching up to 40 children aged from Reception to Year 2 in PE lessons or after school clubs. Schools can contact Kate to book sessions, and they’re then tailored according to each individual school’s need. If need be, they can also run smaller more specific groups for children who require more help. 

Chance for children and parents to have fun together

Kate added: “The earlier parents can start little ones learning fundamental motor skills the better. Our classes help develop children’s physical skills such as coordination and agility which is not only needed for ball sports but in everyday life. Coming to a Ball Bubbas class also allows little ones to try lots of different ball sports and learn the basic skills required for them, allowing them to specialise in one sport as they get older. Our classes also help develop children’s social and cognitive skills developing their ability to listen, follow instructions and work in a team, again these skills are really important in any ball sport.

Above all else, classes are the perfect opportunity for children and parents to spend some time together having fun!”

But we don’t need to take Kate’s word for it. When I visited a session, it was obvious how much fun the children (and adults!) were having. And I spent my entire time smiling whilst filming and taking photos. The noise of laughter and giggles from these little ones was infectious. I wish it had been a thing when my boys were smaller! 

Ball Bubbas parents praise the sessions

And parents of children at the Saturday sessions couldn’t speak highly enough of Ball Bubbas. 

AJ Woodgates, is dad to Ava aged 3 and 2 year old Alex. He said: “My background is sports and I wanted to get them into something sporty. And it is something I can bring them to together. We were going to dance and they weren’t really joining in. But the first day here, they transformed and confidently joined in chasing and throwing the ball. There’s such a variety of activities, it isn’t just about the balls, and it makes a massive difference to their development. They are buzzing after their time here, they love it. They recognise that it’s a Saturday and we’re going to Ball Bubbas and they get excited about it.”

Becki Witts has been bringing her six year old son, Alden for 3 years. She said: “The reason we come is that it does all the different sports. It’s really good to find out what he enjoys doing and teaches him lots of skills in lots of different areas. 

“It’s also somewhere that he has found a different group of friends other than those at school. He can be with his peers – and they all came to his birthday party. He gets a lot out of this.”

Saturday sessions are for 2 to 3 year olds from 10am to 10.45am, and 3 to 6 year olds from 10.45am to 11.30am at Marjon. 

Thursday sessions are for 2 to 4 year olds from 9.30am to 10.15am at the Gym Bubbas base in Colebrook, Plympton.  

If you fancy giving Ball Bubbas a go with your little ones, then you can book onto a free trial session to see what they think. Classes are then booked half termly on the Ball Bubbas website here. A 6-week term costs £39.00, and enrolment can be made at any point as the cost will be pro-rata accordingly.

And if what I saw is anything to go by, they are going to have A LOT of fun! 

Check out my Instagram reel from the session to see for yourself. 

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