Ball takes a full brain workout!

When a ball is coming toward you, the OCCIPITAL LOBE works to interpret the object (color, contrast)

The TEMPORAL LOBE helps to identify the object.  Is it a bird, is it a plane? It’s a ball!

The PARIETAL LOBE works to differentiate the ball (size, shape, and location) in comparison to the surroundings. The PARIETAL LOBE also determines the speed and direction of the ball.  

The FRONTAL LOBE and PARIETAL LOBE help the individual decide where to make the catch. 

Data from the PARIETAL LOBE (speed, direction) is combined with memory (FRONTAL LOBE) The FRONTAL LOBE uses past experiences to predict what will happen this time.

The FRONTAL LOBE receives all of the information about the ball and sends the information to the MOTOR CORTEX (located within the FRONTAL LOBE)

The MOTOR CORTEX then signals the body to move, balance, and position the body to catch, dribble, or kick the ball!

diagram of brain

kids playing with a ball
Developmental Benefits of Ball skills
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Grasping 
  • Bilateral coordination (how do I use both hands to catch or how do I kick with one leg while the opposite leg stays planted on the ground)
  • Motor planning (how much force will it take to throw or kick the ball, where do I need to move to catch the ball)
  • Balance (how do I shift my weight to kick a ball and remain standing)
  • Spatial awareness & Memory  (how do I move my body to avoid running into someone)
  • Social skills (turn taking, cause & effect)


So each time a child plays ball, signals are sent between lobes of the brain, strengthening those pathways for future experiences including reading, writing, carrying a lunch tray, and beyond!

Article written by: Amanda Cramer, DPT


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