Participants learn about and practise striking a ball with their hand to their group members and working as a group to field balls.
- Primary (Ages 6-9)
- Junior (Ages 10-12)
- Multipurpose room
Materials and Equipment
- 4 bins
- 8 hula hoops
- Clock or stopwatch
- Large number of balls
Inspect the activity area and eliminate potential hazards. Check that the activity surface provides safe traction. Clearly outline the boundaries for the activity and set a safe distance from walls and obstacles.
- Divide the participants into four approximately equal groups.
- Participants set up a square activity area and place a hula hoop in each corner. In the centre of the activity area, participants set up four zones, each with a hula hoop and a bin of balls close by.
- Each group is assigned a corner of the activity area and also a zone in the middle of the activity area with their hula hoop and bin.
- Participants in each group form a line at their hoop in the corner of the gym.
- At the start signal, the first participant in line runs toward the group’s designated centre zone.
- The participant picks up one ball from the bin, steps into the hoop, and hits the ball with his or her hand toward the other group members.
- The group members then field the ball and pass it to each other before placing the ball in the hoop in their group’s corner and returning to their line.
- The first participant then runs back to his or her corner, tags the next participant in line, and runs to the back of his or her line.
- Participants in each group keep track of the total time it takes to get all their balls back to their corners.
- Groups work together to develop strategies to try to better their time each round.
- The leader asks open-ended questions to help participants refine their movement strategies and tactical solutions during the activity. Examples include: As the hitter, where does your hand and arm have to face when you are aiming to strike the ball toward your group members? As fielders, what can you do to ensure that your group fields all the balls in the shortest amount of time?
To maximize the challenge and the fun, participants could identify their own ways to increase or decrease the challenge.
To decrease the challenge, participants could:
- Choose the type of hitting implement they want to use (e.g., tennis racquet, paddle), and object they want to hit (e.g., beach ball, beanbag).
- Send the ball in different ways to each other before returning it to the group’s hoop when fielding (e.g., roll the ball to each other, pass the ball over-under-over-under).
To increase the challenge, participants could:
- Use a different manipulation such as kicking the ball into the field.
- Catch the ball using an implement (e.g., upside down pylon, bucket) when fielding.
- Change the ball to a smaller object (e.g., tennis ball, wiffle ball).
Pause for Learning
Throughout the activity, consider highlighting the following skills, concepts, and strategies to help participants learn how to strike and field balls. Note that this is not an exhaustive list, and further learning opportunities may arise during the task.
Movement Skills and Concepts
- Manipulation skills and effort awareness: Applying a controlled force with your hand to send an object toward a designated area containing group members; applying manipulation skills to successfully receive/field the ball (e.g., turning your shoulder on the side of the non-striking hand sideways to get ready to strike the ball with your striking hand; swinging your striking hand back as if it were on a pendulum; making contact with the ball out in front with the palm of your hand facing the direction in which you want the ball to go; striking the ball with a firm hand and wrist, and finishing with the belly button facing the target and elbow high toward group members)
- Understanding and developing tactics to get all the balls back into the bucket quickly (e.g., sending the ball close to group members; working as a group to cover the space)
- Working collaboratively as a group to cover the playing area when fielding the ball (e.g., communicating with other fielders to pass the ball to each other quickly)
Critical & Creative Thinking Skills
- Applying manipulation skills and strategies to decide how and where to send the ball by hand into a designated space so that the fielders can catch it