The Developmental Sequencing of Catching for Individuals with Visual Impairments



MAY 2002

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MIKELBANK, K J- The developmental sequencing of catching for individuals with visual impairments. MS in Exercise and Sport Science - Special Physical Education, May 2002, 56pp. (P. DiRocco)

This study compared the two-handed catching performance of visually impaired children (N = 35) with the use of a beep ball and a non-beep ball using a 5 point scale proposed by Isaacs (1980). All subjects were students at schools for the blind. Boys (n=21) and girls (n = 14) ages 10-18 were videotaped while attempting to catch a treatment of 75 balls thrown underhand from 15 feet away. Performances were scored using the scale and also total number of successful catches. Mean and mode scale scores and the number of successful catches were analyzed using a MANOVA for age X gender X treatment. Original analysis suggested experience may be a factor. Another MANOVA, accounting for experience, was run and those with experience showed significant differences at p.03. Evidence indicates that those without previous experience could not sustain catching performance as well with a Durabeep ball as those with experience from a club or a team that used an audible ball. Implications are suggested for teaching strategies in physical education class, recreation activities, and future assessment. The Isaacs scale was not descriptive enough for information relative to programming. A 7 point scale is proposed for future research.


It is recognized that there was a significant difference found when means were run in a gender X treatment X age X experience (2 X 2 X 2 X 2) factorial MANOVA. Of the 2450 balls thrown, 46.2% or 1,132 of the balls were caught.


There was significant statistical difference at the .03 level of significance in the catching performance of the children who are blind when using a Durabeep ball and a non-beep ball. Hence, the null hypothesis was rejected.


Based upon the results, observations, and discoveries of this study, the following recommendations for further research concerning children who are visually impaired and the skill of two-handed catching are proposed:

  1. Expand the current study to include a larger subject population.
  2. Include the USABA athlete classification as a variable.
  3. Look at a more representative sample of children with visual impairments.
  4. Include children who are being educated in the public schools.
  5. If research is to be done with children under the age of 10, then a throwing distance of less than 15 feet should be used. It would appear that 10 feet was satisfactory provided the child was not struck in the face with an errant throw.
  6. The background color used during test administration could be a color that contrasts the color of the ball.
  7. The scoring scale in Table 15, below, could be implemented in studies that analyze two-handed catching:

Table 15. Scoring scale recommended for future studies

0 Initial body rebound: The subject makes no attempt to catch the ball. The contact occurred while the subject was in the way of the pathway of the ball.
1 Initial arm body, or hand rebound Subject was standing in their ready to catch position and the ball contacted an above mentioned body part.
2 Arm and/or body contact, miss: Initial contact made on the arms and/or body, the ball is missed.
3 Hand contact, miss: Initial contact is made by the hands, but the ball is not caught.
4 Arm and/or body contact, save: Initial contact made by the arms and/or body, the ball is caught.
5 Hand contact, assisted catch: Initial contact is made by the hands. The ball is then juggled or bobbled and retained using the aims and/or body for a catch.
6 Hand contact, clean catch: the ball is contacted and retained by the handswithout a bobble on initial contact. The ball may be brought into the body after control is gained by the hands.

To read this entire thesis a copy is available through inter library loan. Contact your local library. Do not contact the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

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