About Us


Welcome to Playball Derby, United Kingdom

Motivate - Inspire - Challenge


We offer a multi-skill programme which follows the progression from basic fundamental sports skills, to mini games of tennis, hockey, cricket, rugby, football, basketball, baseball and volleyball.  Our action-packed curriculum will engage your little star in fun, age-appropriate, high quality games and activities, ensuring that they have a positive experience with us and enjoy every minute of being physically active!


Programmes available for children aged 2-9 years.


We find that children who attend Playball display:

increased confidence and independence

motivation to want to succeed

persistence and courage to keep on trying

a mature attitude to both winning and handling disappointment

the ability to take part in, not just one, but multiple sports

a love for physical activity and sport




What is Playball?


What are the benefits of such a programme?


Why is Playball necessary?


Do you follow a curriculum?


What do the children learn at each stage of the programme?


What is the science behind the system?



What is Playball?

Playball is a movement and physical development programme for children aged 2 to 9.  Your child will attend a weekly lesson of 45 minutes in a small class with a highly qualified teacher in a fun, safe and creative environment.



Physical Benefits

Improvements in gross (or large) muscle movement and strength, balance, fine movement and strengthening of fingers and grasp, spatial and body awareness, motor planning, hand/eye and hand/foot coordination, balance, agility, timing, confident movement, fundamental skills kicking, catching, rolling, throwing, bouncing, dribbling and multi sport skills for tennis, cricket, hockey, football, rugby, basketball, baseball, volleyball etc.


Social and Emotional Benefits

Our life skills include an improvement in independence, listening and respond to instructions, interacting with a teacher and other friends, taking turns, sharing, confidence, persistence, courage, sportsmanship, developing postive relationships, communication, decision making, cooperation, team work, leadership and the ability to deal with triumph and disappoinment.


Cognitive Benefits

All coordination exercises strengthen the neuron pathways between the right and left hemispheres of the brain - this is essential for learning in the classroom.  Language and concept formation, colour and object recognition, integration (stringing a number of actions together) are also improved.  Midline crossing is essential for writing, reading and general coordination.



Why is Playball necessary?

Simple - it's a confidence thing...  Through my years of teaching Physical Education at Primary and Secondary schools, I have seen countless children struggle with PE and sport.  Embarrassed by the sheer thought of making a mistake and letting the team down or looking a fool when they drop a catch or fail to hit the ball, they turn to non-participation.  What does the physical future look like for this child?  Is it one of lifelong, active involvement?  Sadly the chances are slim...


Playball gives children the tools with which to learn essential MOVEMENT and SPORTS skills which indirectly impacts on positive self esteem and confidence, bringing on the feeling of CAN rather than CAN'T.


The window of opportunity for learning to move is at its widest from birth to six years.  After this time it slowly begins to close and the chance of learning these fundamental movement and sports skills becomes increasingly difficult.

Many companies claim they are "getting kids fit" - unless we spend at least 20 mins per day with each child, this is impossible!  Here at Playball we pledge to provide a programme which generates confidence to play and nurtures a love for physical activity - spurring on that joy to take part at Playball, at home, in the park and at school...  and most importantly through life.



The Science Behind What We Do

Our objectives are twofold - to instill confidence to engage in life-long physical activity through enhancing "physical literacy".  Physical literacy, like learning English or Maths, is the learning of fundamental movement and sports skills that will form a solid foundation for sports participation.

All sports can be broken down into individual skills needed to play them.  Playball works from the bottom up ensuring that all levels are solid before moving on to a more advanced stage.

From crawling to an ace tennis forehand... the evolution

Bear in mind this will take years... Crawling (strengthening the shoulder muscles and developing left and right bi-lateral symmetry and coordination) results in the ability to hold a bat with a firm grip and allow for confident swinging of this bat.  We also need hand-eye coordination and timing so that our body knows how far away the ball is from our body, and when to start the swing process.  Now we are able to hit a ball off a cone.  Progression to a rolling ball, then a bouncing ball, then a smaller ball, then a bigger racquet is a sure start to a great tennis forehand!  The great thing about this is, with all this training, the body and brain work together more easily so the hitting or striking of any object, whether it be in rounders, softball, cricket - won't be a problem!

This is the process for ALL our skills leading up to ALL sports!

Once in the classroom, findings show that children who have had the opportunity to strengthen their core stability (stomachs and backs) are able to sit up straight in their chairs and concentrate far longer than those who are slumped, as the lungs aren’t getting the same amount of oxygen to the brain. A child’s gross motor skills need to be developed before their fine motor skills. Without fine motor skills, children will struggle to hold a pen, write, colour in a picture or tie their shoelaces. 

Body and spatial awareness is of massive importance as it helps a child understand where he or she is in relation to the world around them. Children who constantly bump into objects or who seem clumsy are lacking spatial awareness, balance and possibly gross motor coordination.

Bilateral symmetry (being able to use the left and right side of the body equally well) and midline crossing are vital for developing the neurons between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which allows for far more effective learning to take place.

The benefits are endless and most importantly ESSENTIAL!



The Playball Curriculum

Following a system that started over 25 years ago, the Playball curriculum is maintained by a consortium of professionals comprising teachers, physical therapists, sports coaches, occupational therapists and sports scientists to bring you the most current and appropriate programme of activities for your child.

Playball are global leaders for overall physical development for children.



Playball Programme Curriculum Progression


2 Can Do (2-3 years)

"We are ready to leave the care giver and start a new chapter of independence.  We enjoy discovering what our own bodies can do, what other friends can do and exploring the wider world around us through movement.  Everything we do helps us grow stronger and works towards our essential physical milestones."

Yes, children as young as 2 learn through movement too - in fact movement is a child's introduction to the world and their first experiences of life!  Through lots of exploration and discovery we work in a creative way to encourage little ones to move confidently and stretch their physical boundaries. Body awareness and big movement are key. Counting, colour recognition and word familiarisation are embedded into each lesson. We like to think that a child’s first experience at Playball is a positive and exciting one!


Watch me at 3 (3-4 years)

"We happily participate independently.  We have great fun exploring how many ways we can hit, kick, catch and throw in a friendly and supportive environment.  We learn how to take turns and interact well with our instructor and our friends in the class.  We are starting to feel brave and want to show everyone how well we can perform."

Our focus here is on participation within a group. The environment in which we teach is  non‐intimidating, caring and friendly. A healthy balance is maintained between fun and learning as the 3 year old is introduced to basic movement and development skills which will lay the foundation for future, successful sports participation. As this is often the first encounter with a formal environment, learning will also be directed towards improving concentration and listening skills.


Dinkies (4-5 years)

"We're beginning to show our teacher and friends how we can manipulate a ball with our feet, with a hockey stick or a bat.  We can balance a bean bag confidently on our heads whilst sitting down and standing up.  We are also able to accomplish tasks in a variety of different ways - such as throwing under arm or over arm.  We play confidently with big balls and small balls, as well as manipulate objects such as hoops, tennis bats and hockey sticks."

The main emphasis here is on mastering a variety of sport and movement skills, the balance between participation and the quality of each skill is given careful consideration. By use of repetition, the quality of the execution of each skill improves. Pupils take great strides into the world of competent sport participation as good ball skills are established and improved on. We practice hitting, kicking, catching, throwing, rolling etc to build up our bank of sport splinter skills and always finish with a fun and exciting game!


Preps (5-6 years)

"We are starting to bring all the individual sports skills together.  Amongst other skills, we find it increasingly easy to confidently bounce a ball up to a hoop and shoot a basket; or dribble a hockey ball and pass to a friend.  We are learning to work together with our friends to achieve a common goal and are starting to take on small leadership roles.  Playing small sided sports games is very exciting and we are learning how to win and lose graciously."

In essence, this stage deals with the refinement of skills. The quality of each movement is more important. The programme includes a wide range of specialised sports skills, formalised sports drills and a large amount of partner‐work which lays the foundation for competent sports participation. It is here that we encourage “getting it right” which develops persistence and does away with the fear  of “can’t catch, therefore can’t play”.


Players (6-7 years)

From years of doing Playball, these children are confident manipulating various pieces of sporting equipment and handling any type of ball.  Due to the nature of the multi-sports activities, they are able to quickly adapt to new rules and new sports.  They understand the importance of working as a team, enjoy the challenge of showing leadership skills and concentrate on more tactical play.  They show respect and sportsmanship at all times (and are not allowed to argue with the umpire!).

A genuine enthusiasm for sport participation is established here. We focus heavily on the skills of our main ball sports; football, netball, basketball, hockey, rugby, tennis, volleyball and baseball, and play mini versions of the age‐appropriate game. Partner‐work encourages excellent social skills such as communication and team work.


Pros (7-9 years)

Playball follows the guidelines of the Long Term Athlete Development framework and engages children in a programme of multi-skills and multi-sports.  This allows children the ability to develop ALL physical capacities and prepares them, not only for the sporting areas we provide, but for ALL ball sports.

Children are introduced to the rules of the various sports and as they progress to the "Pro" stage. More emphasis is placed on positional play and tactics. We encourage leadership on and off the pitch which nurtures a respect for one another. Children are asked to self‐evaluate their own performance and that of their peers.