Defend court by hitting the ball

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Court size 4x4 m to 9x9, according to age
4 to 6 pupils
2 to 3 balls

The court must be big enough to require moving while making defence possible for a lone player.

Aim of the task:

  • Stop the ball from falling to the ground by hitting it
  • Drop the ball in the opponent's court


  • The throw is first done from the "middle of the court"
  • We can progress by shifting this limit further back

For Defence, we can change the rule progressively:

  • Hit then catch the ball yourself
  • Hit and send directly into the opponent's court
  • Hit and send back in two touches
  • Hit towards a partner target
  • Where do I place myself to defend?
    I favour loves towards the front.
  • How to reach the ball?
    I am ready and alert (attitude). I set off at the same time as the ball.
  • How to hit it?
    I place myself under the ball.
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We focus on noting the key points:

  • Attitude in preparation
  • Earliness of the move

Pupils assimilate these points as they observe each other and answer the questions:

  • Just before the hit, was he (she) ready to go?
    1. YES
    2. NO
  • Relative to the ball did he (she) set off:
    1. At the same time?
    2. A little too late?
    3. Much too late?

The central question is: Am i leaving at the same time as the ball?

The best observation point is in the axis of the court in order to see the ball and the player from the start.

This work can be done on cards, very simply with two or three columns to tick during a series of balls, or verbally immediately after the action:
Not ready! Good start! Late!

The advantage of catching the ball compared with a game with hits is to focus the work on the starting off and the placing. We must link systematically the analysis of the action to the principle of the run against the ball.

The questions asked and the observation structure the diagnosis made by the pupil. This way, we get out of the spontaneous and erroneous explanations made by the pupils:

  • it's impossible he hits too hard
  • it's too far
  • the court is too big

Knowledge of the time and space references, spotting the sources of failure or success, form an integral part of the technique for serve reception and after that all techniques of intervention on the ball.

At a second stage of the situation, the action of hitting the ball above one's head before catching it is an indicator of placing. Of the player sets off early enough, reads well the trajectory, he can touch the ball above his head and therefore make a controlled pass to himself.

We can formulate two levels of success:

  1. I stop the ball from falling in my court by catching it.
  2. I am able to send it back above myself before catching it.
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