Paddle or Racket Activities for Elementary P.E.
Coordination is an important skill that children must learn and work to master. Some physical education activities promote this skill more than others. Activities that use paddles or rackets allow students to practice their hand-eye coordination and to master the skills necessary to hit a ball or other object accurately.
1 Paddle Battle
This activity allows children to practice and improve their coordination skills over time. Give each student a paddle and a ball. Each student bounces his ball off the paddle, propelling it upwards into the air. The ball should be kept in the air as long as possible with the student remaining within a specific 3 to 5 foot area. Students count how many times they can hit the ball before allowing it to fall. Another variation is for the students to try to keep the ball in the area for a specified amount of time, such as 30 seconds for younger kids and up to a minute for older kids.
2 Paddle Ball
Split the students into pairs and have them find a spot against the wall as far apart from other students as possible. Each student should have a paddle and each pair needs to a ball. Students take turns hitting the ball against the wall with their paddles, using both forehand and backhand techniques. This activity will help students to develop their hand-eye coordination and prepare them for participating in sports, such as racquetball and tennis.
3 Snatch and Strike
Spread hula hoops around the gym, one for each student. Fill half of the hoops with safe projectiles, such as foam balls or shuttlecocks. Students pair off, with one student in the empty hoop and the other in the hoop containing the projectiles. Using the requested technique--either backhand, overhand or underhand--the student in the hoop with the projectiles uses her paddle to hit one of the projectiles to her partner. If her partner can catch the projectile while keeping at least one foot in the hoop, that team gets a point.
For this activity, students use paddles or rackets to throw items, rather than just using them to hit a ball or other projectile. Give students an item that will not bounce such as bean bags. The student then places this item onto his paddle and uses a side-arm motion to throw the bean bag. This requires a different motion that typical throwing would, working different muscles and developing a different area of coordination. Students should start from a specified distance from the wall and should aim to hit the wall in a specified location.