This month’s featured sport is badminton! We have recently published our first unit of this exciting and inclusive net-wall game for year 3.  We will be adding a full complement of badminton lesson plans for the whole of key stage 2 in due course.

Develop hand-eye coordination

Hand-eye coordination is an essential skill for children to develop in their PE lessons and benefits many activity areas.  Children can master hand-eye coordination through a variety of net-wall games including tennis and racquetball; however, badminton can often be a more accessible starting point. The shuttlecocks natural flight is slower than a ball allowing more time to be hit.   This slower pace will enable children to get to grips with this fun and what can be, fast-paced sport in a manageable way.

Inclusive

Short handled racquets are available for children learning the sport, which are also useful for shorter pupils or pupils in wheelchairs.  The short handle means the shuttle is easier to hit as the head of the racquet is closer to the hand.  The further away it is the harder it becomes to hit.   A great way to start playing badminton during primary school PE lessons is with balloons and racquets. Pupils can play in small teams or pairs gaining points by keeping the balloon in the air.

Working cooperatively

Pupils can play badminton in pairs and groups which will help develop their cooperation skills.  There are many types of pairs games that can be played to develop cooperation such as maximum rallies to badminton ‘volleyball’ and ‘keep the kettle boiling’.

Competition

Competition doesn’t just have to be one player versus another.  Pupils can try to beat their score by hitting the shuttle or balloon into the air without dropping or teams working to keep a rally going.  Why not try this cooperative but competitive activity found in our badminton PE lessons plans with your pupils?

Rally = Unbroken returns between two or more players

Have you been teaching badminton in your school or club?   What are your experiences of this fun activity? Share them with us on Twitter @thepehub or on our Facebook page.

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This month’s featured sport is gymnastics! I was never very good at gymnastics at school, and during teacher training, I dreaded when the time would come that I would have to teach it.  However, one week and an excellent gymnastics training course later, I love to teach gym to children of all ages.

My lecturer was Barry Benn and he and his wife, Tansin, have written some of the most useful gymnastics teaching books around, I would highly recommend checking them out.

So why traditionally has there been so much emphasis placed on gymnastics across the key stages?

Develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance

This heading has been taken directly from the national curriculum.  Consequently, it can be implied that these areas are so important for a child’s general physical literacy.  Being able to control their body in time and space, to develop their natural flexibility and gain strength to apply to a range of sports and general tasks in life.  Furthermore, children can acquire all these aspects of fitness and skill through gymnastics.

Develop self-control

Gymnastics is primarily judged on its aesthetics and to achieve a beautiful performance, there must be self-control.  Pupils must follow, copy and repeat gymnastics actions, work within the confines of small areas, often in collaboration with others.  These things help children develop self-control and apply it to produce a better performance.

Learning to be safe

As with all physical activity, there is an inherent element of risk in gymnastics.  For children to progress and learn they must be trusted to carry equipment, perform at different levels, roll, climb, hang, jump and take weight on their head and hands.

When teachers are confident to teach gymnastics correctly, it can be extremely safe while teaching children how to reduce risk and keep themselves safe is an essential and transferable life skill. Find out more about managing risk in AfPE’s ‘Safe Practice in Physical Education and Sport’

What are your experiences of teaching gymnastics?  Share them with us on Twitter @thepehub or on our Facebook page.

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This month’s featured activity is dance! Dance is one of the only ‘must be taught’ activities in the PE curriculum.  If you use a planning tool, make sure dance is covered in any primary pe schemes chosen.  If dance were classified as a performing art and not PE, then schools would have a choice as to whether to teach it or not.  We believe all children should experience dance at school, here are just a few reasons why:

Creativity

Dance give pupils a rare opportunity to be genuinely creative in PE and express emotions and feelings through movement to music.  This creativity can be shaped in many ways including exploring themes, music, dance styles and patterns as well as drawing on their own imagination through activities such as role play.

Primary pe schemes

With topic teaching being back in fashion what a better way to bring ideas to life than through dance?  Almost anything can be made into a dance from natural events to sporting ones.  If you’re studying a historical topic, learning a traditional dance can transport children back in time! Some primary pe schemes will have topic based dance. The English Folk dance and Song Society have produced a lovely resource to give you a head start with some traditional English Dance.

Collaboration

The new national curriculum talks a lot about pupils working collaboratively.  Dance is an excellent way for children to discuss ideas, refine movements, choose skills and devise movement patterns and dances together.  Working as a team is not just reserved for team sports!

Social impact

Dance has developed from humans desire to be personally expressive and to connect socially.  To dance feels good and it is an innate part of who we are.  Allowing children the opportunity to connect with themselves, each other and the world around them through dance is a special kind of gift we can give our pupils!

For further reading on the benefits of dance for children check out Stage Coaches fantastic article on this subject.

We are currently writing Reception Dance Unit 2, and this will be on the website shortly.  To be the first to know about our new PE lesson plan uploads sign up for our newsletter by entering your email address on our homepage.

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This month’s featured sport is swimming!  There are many benefits of teaching swimming. It may seem strange to focus on swimming in the dead of winter, but with rain and snow in the forecast, it’s a great time of year to get kids out of the usual school environment. Plus, programming a swimming unit offers you and your students plenty of benefits.

The benefits of teaching swimming in your school

  1. Self-confidence: Humans aren’t naturally built for the water, and learning to swim may seem intimidating to many children. Students who learn to swim in spite of their initial fears gain mastery over themselves.
  2. Safety: According to the Royal Life Saving Society, about 400 people drown each year in the UK. The sooner children learn to swim—and swim safely—the more likely they are to be able to save themselves.
  3. Physical benefits: Swimming is an excellent full-body workout that trains the cardiovascular system and improves flexibility without the pounding or impact found in land sports.
  4. Social effects: Children who can swim are able to participate more fully in holidays, parties, and even competitive clubs later in life
  5. Lifelong practice: Because it’s so low-impact, swimming is an activity people can do well into old age. Teaching students to swim offers a tool they can use to maintain good health for the rest of their lives.

As an added bonus, there is also some evidence that swimming is less likely to be a problem for students with mild to moderate asthma.

Later this month we’ll share some of our best practices for teaching this challenging but rewarding activity. Meanwhile, find out more about what we do here at The PE Hub, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to subscribe!

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