I’m often asked this very question so here’s the answer!
Seventeen years ago I was teaching English in a school to speakers of other languages when, quite out of the blue, as a kind of end of term thank you present, one of my students gave me this strange, multi-coloured object made out of paper. He showed me how to blow it up and then we patted it around the classroom. Having never seen anything like it before I was immediately struck by how slowly it travelled and how easy it was to maintain a rally. At that time, once a week I was coaching badminton to a group with a wide variety of disabilities. Everyone in the group had a turn with the ball and succeeded because of its slow speed. I asked the student if he could get hold of around 30 of the balls and his mother duly obliged by contacting someone in the country of the balls’ origin. I subsequently took these balls into a number of PE lessons at various primary schools having devised suitable routines. They were extremely successful.
I realised that it was logical for beginners in racket skills lessons (or any hand-eye co-ordination activities) to start off with the simplest of resources which travels slowly and can be easily eye-tracked. Indeed, using these balls is the best way beginners can achieve keepy uppy and rallying drills. After a number of lessons with the balls they can then go on to use more normal equipment. I then went about sourcing them and began importing large quantities of three sizes of balls (orange, grapefruit and melon size) marketing them (and forming a company known ) as plusballs.
Seventeen years later hundreds of thousands of plusballs have been distributed, either directly or through sports and educational catalogues, to hundreds of schools, dozens of sports clubs as well as to colleges, nursing homes, rehab groups – even hospitals.
Word of mouth and recommendations are the best advertisement for plusballs so it would be much appreciated if you could let others know about this wonderful resource.
Roger Stroud Director plusballs