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Benchball

By Sophie
Age Range: 7 to 11

My year 6 class love this energetic team game! It works especially well when developing throwing/catching/passing skills.

Set up the gym with a bench at each end, and a row of cones/markers down middle to divide the space into two halves. You will also need a large soft ball for the children to throw.

Divide the class into two teams and give one team armbands or bibs. Team 1 should be in one half of the court, team 2 in the other.
Both teams choose a goalie, who stands on the bench in the opposition's half of the court.
The idea of the game is for players to throw the ball to their goalie without it being caught by the other team. As teams score goals, the scoring player joins the goalie on the bench. Children pass the ball between themselves until someone decides to shoot.

Once children have the idea, introduce rules such as
- team 1 get a free pass if team 2 throw/catch the ball outside the tram lines (if playing on a tennis court)
- If a player has the ball they cannot move their feet apart from to change direction
- A goal is only valid if the goalie catches the ball when on the bench (not whilst falling off!)

Before playing this game remind children of the need to be careful when standing on the benches, especially when trying to catch the ball. Make sure the benches are away from walls/other apparatus. I also use a 6 person limit to the amount of goalies on the benches - subsequent goalies stand on the floor at either end of the bench.

This variation was suggested by Rhonda:

I set up 2 benches at either end so all students can stand on a bench. My variation is that all players on the bench are allowed to catch a ball that is thrown to them from a team-mate. This variation permits maximum participation of students. The games go more quickly, I imagine, but we changed starting goalies and have another round.


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