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Monday, February 20, 2012

Are Line Sports Worthy of the Hall??

When looking at the games in the "Hall of Shame" it is clear to see the differences between these games and the games we play at St. Mary's. Our games involve more than a simple winner or loser (in fact our games often have neither), more than just raw physical skills, have much more movement and interaction, and do not look to single any of the kids out or put them on the spot. The games in the "Hall of Shame" are the reason that PE teachers get a bad rap, and are seen as a joke. They involve concepts and objectives that anyone could instruct a group on, and have little to no benefit once the students are out of class.

The games we choose to play at St. Mary's all involve motor skills we look to improve on each lab, or if it was a regular class environment each class period. If they do involve a loser it is a team, not one or two students getting put on display for their inability or inefficiency. A lot of times our games will involve cognitive development, using thinking and other subject areas to be successful. Our games also provide affective growth in the interaction with fellow students, as well as the positive reinforcement gained by the attainable goal of the game.

Line soccer is another game I was surprised to see in the "Hall of Shame." While I have never played line soccer in a class (or at least do not remember), I often played what I guess would be referred to as "line basketball," which was the same concept just a different sport. Looking back there certainly are flaws. Many students sit out, many do not touch the ball, many do not break a sweat, and many get bored fast.

However the game is not totally useless. This drill was a very beneficial and commonly used drill for my varsity basketball team to work on defense, offense, and most importantly, intensity. This drill always got the team fired up, while also allowing my coach to critique certain skills that he may have noticed are lacking in regular game play. When I become a basketball coach I plan on using this drill no matter what grade level.

While it may be a great drill for a practice, the fact remains it needs adjustment before it can be implemented in to a PE curriculum. The game must be adapted so that NYS Learning Standards are met, as well as NASPE Standards for high quality PE.

An easy way to do this is to approach this game as a warm up game for a tactical lesson on basketball. To do this it is important to occupy more than one hoop. In my gym in middle school, for instance, we had 6 basketball hoops. Instead of playing at one hoop, with the whole class watching the 3 or 4 students participating, the class should be broken up in to equal sized, smaller groups. This gives more playing time for each student as well as puts their nervousness at ease a little with fewer eyes watching them. When numbers are called out, instead of simply running to the ball, different motor skills could be worked to achieving possession. Crab walk, hopping, horizontal leaping, or galloping, are all ways to do this and appropriate depending what age level you are teaching. You could also work on specific skills within each mini game. This drill could be used to emphasize whatever you want to be the key piece of information you want your students to obtain for the class, and could change daily. Instead of playing the traditional “first team to score wins,” you could say that five passes must be made before you could even shoot, which works on ball movement, v-cuts to and from the ball, as well as backdoor cuts. If you want the non-hand to be emphasized you could start the class with this drill and say you must shoot and dribble with your offhand, and can only shoot a lay-up. Also working 3 on 2 or 4 on 3 is another adaptation that will work on actual skills as opposed to just the normal 1 on 1 or 2 on 2. For those 1 or two students in each group that do happen to be sitting out, they might be able to shuffle from place to place and be an extra option out of bounds for the offense, and they may only be able to pass a certain way if that is the class emphasis. Having clear boundaries will keep everyone out of each other’s way and maintain a safe environment.

To me, there should definitely be a list of games outlawed that make PE look bad and that do not incorporate the knowledge and skills we learned in school.  However these games are classic and kids are familiar with them.  The more familiar, the more willing they will be to participate which is the main thing you look for in a class.  Modifications can make it a more appropriate lesson, while still incorporating the traditional game concepts. 

If you disagree please do not hesitate to comment and leave your opinion.  Until then, stay funky everyone. 

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