Defend court and send back to a target

See the video


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
  • Renvoyer vers une cible partenaire (?)


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

The passage from direct hit back or the self pass to a partner target placed on the side is an important qualitative stage which requires a much more complex organisation with an anticipation at feet level and a sharing of the shoulders orientation between the ball (incoming trajectory) and the target (destination trajectory).

The wider the angle of deviation between the destination trajectory and the incoming trajectory, the more it reveals the capacities of placing and orientation.

How do I direct the ball?
I turn towards the target before hitting.

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See the video

Sending back to a side target has the same demands of earliness and movement but it adds the sharing of the orientation between the incoming trajectory of the ball and the direction of the target.

It is the orientation of the last points of support that enables to orient the pelvis and the shoulders and push in direction of the target aimed at.

Spontaneously the pupils perceive the conflict between:

  • turning towards the incoming ball to ensure control
  • turning towards the target in order to be accurate.

Every time there is a lag we observe compensation responses.

Beware! The most gifted pupils can develop skills in compensation (see clip) and therefore never correct their errors (for instance a late set off). Later, they find themselves faced with failure when the level of difficulty rises. It will be more difficult then to change the bad habits they have adopted.

To avoid this, we increase the level of difficulty (width of the court, range of trajectories, precision of the trajectory towards the partner) to bring them to their limits of adaptation.

In the work involving a setter target, the observation criteria used in the defence of a target by catching the ball remain valid but the sanction is more visible when they have to send back the ball.

When there is a partner target making it necessary ti deviate the trajectory the criteria for observing precision are:

  1. Can the setter catch it above his head?
    • YES
    • NO
  2. Does the setter have to move by more than one step to catch it?
    • YES
    • NO
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