Everyone Needs a Throwing Partner

Guest post by laura steinbrink, posted on her blog site Rockntheboat

If you have ever played organized baseball or softball, at any level, chances are that you have gone through a warmup or drill of some sort that required you to throw the ball to another player. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you are aware that I have a son who is very active athletically, particularly in the sport of baseball, which is where I came up with the idea for this post.

My son Ryan plays travel baseball and high school baseball, and he is fortunate to get to play both of those with his cousin Hayden. They are three weeks apart in age, so they naturally get to do a lot of things together. However, having the same throwing partner for both the travel team and the high school team is pretty cool. In case you haven’t thought of this before, your throwing partner is important, so having the right one is crucial. I know, some of you are thinking that I should be saying my son should be open to throwing with anyone. Sure, and he is, but to get the most out of the warm-up consistently, throwing partners should be very similar in skill and ability. An occasional switch-up happens, but I’ve watched a lot of baseball and coached and watched a lot of softball, and most players prefer to use the same throwing partner every time, just like my son.

There are definite benefits to having a good and consistent throwing partner that correlate to education. Here are three key benefits:

  1. Similar skill and ability mean that you spend less time chasing badly thrown balls. Paring an experienced player with an inexperienced player in the throwing warmup may sound good on the surface, but a lot of frustration and embarrassment ensue when this happens. In education, the badly thrown balls can represent bad advice, redundant policies, activities, or practices. On the flipside, badly thrown balls can also be like advice or practices that seem totally out of reach by the more inexperienced teacher.
  2. Your throwing partner, by catching or attempting to catch what you throw to them, helps you see what adjustments need to be made so that you can throw it back at them with the accuracy and speed needed for them to be able to catch the ball. Or in educational terms, a good throwing partner can help you see what adjustments are needed for your strategy, activity, policy change, etc. big idea.
  3. Not only does your throwing partner catch what you throw, but they also, providing you have a good teammate, forgive your wild throws and missed opportunities to catch the ball each and every time. A good educational throwing partner will even retrieve bad or wild throws without making you feel bad about it. This is a much-needed skill today. We have all had a lesson go awry, so it’s nice to have a partner who will help you go get the ball so you can start throwing again.

So there’s my quick educational baseball analogy to help us all get ready for the new school year. Whether you have already started, are about to start back, or still have some time left before the school year officially begins, you need to consider someone in your building or district who could be your throwing partner. I a have local throwing partner and various ones in my expanded professional learning network (PLN) that can catch what I throw at them, will help me retrieve errant throws, and never make me feel bad about it. A partner can also make the experience more enjoyable. Do you have a throwing partner?

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