Whacket Away

Activity Overview

Participants learn about and practise sending an object into open space using a racket. Participants learn about and practise defending an area.

  • Junior (Ages 10-12)

Facility

  • Gymnasium

Materials and Equipment

  • 4 courts
  • Protective eye gear meeting ASTM F803 standards or equivalent
  • 4 rackets per group
  • 1 small light object (e.g., shuttlecock, paper ball, sponge) per group

Safety

Inspect the activity area and eliminate potential hazards. Check that the activity surface provides safe traction. Set boundaries for the activity a safe distance from walls and obstacles. Provide a safe distance between activities. Provide adequate spacing when using doubles to allow each participant to be able to make an uninterrupted swing of the racket. Rackets must be inspected regularly and be in safe condition. Participants should wear protective eye gear during play.

Activity Information

Activity Set-up

  • Divide the participants into groups of four.
  • Participants use the lines on the gym floor to find an area where two lines intersect to create four separate areas.
  • Each group member stands in one of the areas and is responsible for defending that area.
  • Each participant has a racket.

Activity Instructions

  • One participant sends the object to one of the other group members’ areas using her or his racket.
  • The other group members defend their space by not letting the object hit the ground. They try to “whack” it away with their racket and send it to another area.
  • When the object hits the ground in one of the four areas, the person in that area receives a point.
  • The objective is to receive the lowest number of points within the group. The game is over when participant group member receives 10 points.
  • The leader asks open-ended questions to help participants refine their movement strategies and tactical solutions during the activity. Examples include: To be successful in this game, where would the optimal location be to send the object in an opponent’s court? Describe a strategy you can apply to send your object into an opponent’s open space. Where and how do you position your body to successfully receive the object when it enters your court?

Adaptations

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:

  • Use a larger racket (e.g., tennis racket).
  • Use a larger object (e.g., balloon, beach ball).
  • Use your hand as a racket.
  • Play with a partner to defend your space and send away the object.

To increase the challenge, participants could:

  • Increase the size of the activity area.
  • Use two objects per group.
  • Use a heavier object (e.g., tennis ball, whiffle ball).

Pause for Learning

Throughout the activity, consider highlighting the following skills, concepts, and strategies for effectively sending an object while defending your area. Note that this list is not exhaustive, and further learning opportunities may arise during the task.

Movement Skills and Concepts

  • Manipulation and relationship: sending and receiving an object with a racket into open space (e.g., knowing how to manipulate a racket to send the object into open space)
  • Effort awareness: Understanding and applying the appropriate force to send the object into the opponents’ open spaces (e.g., if some opponents are only covering the back of their court, sending the object forcefully to the front of their court to make it hard for them to retrieve it)

Movement Strategies

  • Tactical awareness: developing an understanding of the structure of the game (e.g., knowing how to assess your opponent’s next move and being ready to receive the object)
  • Decision making: learning to make decisions about what to do and how to do it throughout the game (e.g., if the opponent is always expecting the object to come at a short distance, making a decision to send the object toward the back of their court)

Living Skills

Critical and Creative Thinking Skills

  • Gathering information and analyzing the plays throughout the game to develop and apply strategies to be successful (e.g., observing the opponents and trying to find patterns in their game of play, such as sending the object into the back of the court to create open space in the front of the court).
  • Reflecting and evaluating the plays of the game, and identifying steps to improve your play (e.g., learning how to be aware of the object coming into your court at any point of the game and being in a ready position to receive it)