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Teacher: Fran Rush who teaches at Oak Hill Elementary School in Bastrop, TX. Fran Rush can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Volleyball Playday

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To give fifth graders a chance to work in a volleyball clinic to improve their skills and to encourage them to participate in this recreational sport.

Suggested Grade Level: 5th

Materials Needed: Older, skilled players to help run the clinic, A facility large enough to hold the event. (We have used a small college, several high schools, and finally, we are located near a University of Texas Recreation Sports facility, Many other refinements to help the day such as signs, people/volunteers for each area, ribbons, public address system, bleachers for the parents, concessions, t-shirts, etc.

Volleyball Playday

It is best described by following one team around. A team is made up of at least 3 girls and 3 boys. Teams represent schools, and students must be allowed to be on a team if they wish; there are no try-outs. Many schools bring several teams. (Only behavior would eliminate a player).

1. Eight teams report to a waiting area.

2. They are taken to the clinic. The clinic has 4 stations--setting, forearm pass, overhand serving, and spiking. Nets are lowered so students can experience success. (In Austin, we are fortunate enough to have the clinic run by the University of Texas Lady Longhorn team as part of the University out-reach to the community). The entire clinic lasts 30 minutes.

3. The teams report to one of 4 courts where they play 3 other schools.

4. Rules have been modified to suit the age-group.

  • Teams must alternate boy-girl-boy-girl on the floor. If a girl rotates out, a girl rotates in.

  • Each server may have two serves at the most. If points are earned, the team just rotates to the next server.

  • The serving line is moved up to 20 feet.

  • The games are refereed (by middle school physical education teachers), but NO SCORE is kept.

  • Games are 10 minutes.

  • Generally speaking, serves are returned by a forearm pass.

  • After 3 games, all 8 teams are led to the awards area.

  • A short speech is heard, lots of cheering, get to stand on a small stage, and are given a deluxe ribbon. Parents and teachers take pictures.

5. The playday begins about 7:40 AM and continues all day. Every half hour, another 8 teams are in the waiting room. There are usually 1200 students of all ethnicity's participating in the entire day.

6. Many people contribute to the success of the day...

  • AAPER (Austin Association of Physical Education and Recreation--elementary school physical education teachers)

  • Austin Independent School District

  • Middle School physical education teachers.

  • The University of Texas Recreation Department--donates the

  • facility and personnel

  • The University of Texas Lady Longhorn Volleyball Team

  • The University of Texas Kinesiology Department.

7. The format that is currently used was developed by Jim DeLine, a local physical educator. AAPER volunteers make sure that the event runs smoothly.

8. As mentioned above, years ago this format worked using a north and south side high school. High school teams could provide the clinic staff for smaller communities.

It is volunteer intensive, but is always exactly on-time and parents and others are extremely impressed by the professionalism of the teachers and the level of skill displayed by the students. Players all seem to improve and the enthusiasm is very high--even without scoring the games. The students are all WINNERS!

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Posted on PEC: 10/10/2001 and has received 55 votes.

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