Teaching Basketball in P.E. (Grades 3 - 6)
Teaching Basketball in PE can be fun, interesting and challenging all at the same time. Some students are on the path to being MJ or Lebron… or somewhere in between. Some students slap the ball like they’re trying to kill a mosquito and call it “dribbling.” As a PE teacher, we need to try and cater for both skill sets.
In order to engage students to get involved, there are many basketball games and drills that will help them develop and refine their skills. Even though basketball is a competitive sport, it’s important to remember that the main priority is to have fun! Remember, those mini professionals you have in your class most likely have pathways and programs outside of school. What an opportunity for them to take on a leadership role in your class and mentor other classmates.
There are plenty of fun and creative ideas for activities and games in your basketball unit:
Sharks and Minnows. A fun drill which focuses on keeping the head up while dribbling. The aim of this game is for the minnows (dribblers) to dribble from baseline to baseline without getting tagged by the sharks (taggers). Everyone has a basketball except the taggers whose job is to eliminate as many dribblers as possible stealing or bouncing their ball out.
Dribble Wars. This may be the most popular game I play. It does not matter if you are an elite basketballer or one of the mosquito kids. Everyone loves this game. Dribble wars will help students dribble while keeping their eyes up as all players dribble around in a small area. Everyone has a basketball to dribble and protect while trying to knock other students’ basketballs. If a player picks up the ball or loses it, the player is out of the game. When one of my students gets out, I ask them to go to the side, complete 10 jumping jacks and come back in. This keeps everyone engaged for the duration of the game. You can modify this differently.
Knockout. A popular shooting game which helps students to learn to shoot under pressure. The game starts with all players lined up in a straight line at the free throw line. The first two players have a basketball each. The person in line will start to shoot and the second player can shoot as soon as the first player takes their shot. If they make the shot, they will pass it to the next person in line, but if they miss, they need to grab the rebound and score as fast as possible. If the person behind scores before the player in front, the player in front is eliminated. The game continues until there is only one student left standing.
As the teacher, we play an integral role in keeping our students engaged and excited. That is the fun of our job. To provide an enjoyable basketball experience, it’s important to mix up how our students will learn and practise. “Gamifying” sessions can maximise excitement and engage students of all ability levels.
Setting up a program like this will give your students a sense of accomplishment as they not only get to practise crucial dribbling, passing and shooting skills, but also learn to work together in a team environment. The most important element of any Physical Education program is to maximise participation. The MJs and Lebron’s will always go from strength to strength. Hopefully by incorporating some of these activities and games, your mosquito slappers of the class have some fun, too!