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Name of Activity:
Purpose of Activity:The purpose of this activity is to give students opportunities to successfully control a tennis ball with a racquet in a variety of games/activities.
Prerequisites:Basic racquet skills and safety techniques. Have student practice "bump-ups" during the previous lessons. Also, be sure you have covered racquet safety. I always say "hug" your racquet and hold your ball in your hand while I give instructions. For K-2 (or other classes that behavior is a factor), just have them set the equipment down where they are at and relocate them to an area of the gym to explain directions. Lastly, make sure students understand the concept of easily striking the ball to better control it. Hard swings benefits nobody!
Suggested Grade Level:3-5
Materials Needed:Nets or caution tape, racquets/paddles, colored tape, tennis balls/whiffle balls or any other similar sized ball that best fits your students.
Description of Idea
This lesson is station based and includes 5 stations.
Station #1: Bump Up Station
-Students will practice their bump-ups to practice controlling the ball. Keep racquet flat and keep the height of the bounce lower than the shoulder. These are the 2 main cues for controlling the bump-ups.
Station #2: 4 Square
-This station has 4 LARGE squares for each student to stand in. There is NO rotation like traditional 4 Square (King, Queen, Prince, etc.), instead, the students work as a GROUP to see how long they can rally for.
Station #3: Caution Tape Court
-This mini sized tennis court has net that is just a piece of caution tape. Students will practice rallying across the tape. The main rule is to let the ball bounce ONCE before returning over the net. Elementary students have a hard time controlling the ball out of the air, so letting it bounce once increases their chances of success while limiting balls flying across the gym!
Station #4: Big Net Court
-This is similar to station #3, the difference is we have a net now instead of caution tape. The tape allows for errors if the student hits it too low or can be modified into a "roll the ball under the tape" station, where as this station forces the students to practice hitting the ball OVER the net. Use the same one bounce rule as station #3.
Station #5: Exercise Station
-This station can be used any way you best see fit for your students! Have exercise bikes, yoga mats, jump ropes, sit-ups, push-ups, etc.! Be creative with this station and make sure it gets the heart rate up!
A pre- and post-test idea is to measure how many bump-ups a student can do consecutively. The bump-up station obviously focuses on improving this score, however with the nets and four square students continue to practice controlling the ball which will improve post-test bump-up scores!
This lesson is designed for a class with 25 students. If you have more than 25 students it would be wise to add another station if space allows. Try not to have more than 4 in a station.
In the Caution Tape Court Station, allow students to roll the ball under the tape and back for success, especially at younger ages.
Lastly, the Bump-Up station can quickly get disorganized without proper planning. Beginning tennis students will not be able to control the ball well at first. This will result in balls rolling into other stations. If able, set up this station in a location that best limits the balls rolling to various stations, or have a divider between this station and the others to stop the ball's travel.
Adaptations for Students with Disabilities
Small, lightweight plastic paddles or racquets are best! This along with foam balls or yarn balls are great for behavior problem students or students that have sensory issues. Safety is key! If student is physically impaired, having them roll the ball would be key. Students that use a wheelchair can perform bump-ups and roll the ball to partners.
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