Teaching Dribbling to Elementary Physical Education Students

By Hulton, Stephanie | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, January 2011 | Go to article overview

Teaching Dribbling to Elementary Physical Education Students


Hulton, Stephanie, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


In elementary physical education, many if not all skills can be broken down or extended, so that all students can work on the skill at their own level. Elementary physical education lays the foundation for developing skills that will later be needed to participate in many activities in secondary school and in life. Physical educators take on the responsibility of teaching students skills that they will be able to use to lead a more active lifestyle. Dribbling is one of those skills.

A dribbling unit needs to be fun and interesting, and it should allow students to get enough practice time and repetitions to feel competent at the skill. In order for this to happen, the teacher needs to put a lot of thought and consideration into determining students' skill level in order to provide for more-or less-advanced dribblers to work on skill development. The activities should be planned ahead of time to ensure that students will enjoy a fun, creative atmosphere while dribbling. Assessment can be easily accomplished with the use of skill checklists, by checking for understanding, and even through activities such as coloring or writing. These tools will help the teacher to determine whether students are learning and to hold the students accountable for what they are doing.

This article describes a dribbling activity called "Volcanoes," which can be done within a dribbling unit. The activity requires cones, playground balls, a decent size gym space, and an enthusiastic teacher.

Equipment

It is important for each student to have his or her own playground ball, if at all possible. This will eliminate lines and waiting time, so each student can get maximal practice time. It is suggested that all the playground balls be the same color, so that students do not become choosey over a certain color. Tactile balls (with surface bumps) that are easier to bounce and control could be used for students who are struggling. This does not negatively affect the students, because they will most likely want to use the tactile balls just because they are different. Students also have the choice of using one or two hands to do consecutive dribbles. In addition, bigger playground balls could be added as students become more skillful.

When using cones for dribbling exercises, it is suggested to use the half-size ones, so that students will not lose control completely if they dribble into a cone. Poly spots can also be substituted for cones, though cones offer an extra challenge by making students more aware of their surroundings. If poly spots are used, numbered ones offer an automatic means of telling students how many times they need to perform a task at that spot.

Organization and Teaching Progression

The gymnasium can be divided into squares by marking the floor with tape, so each student has his or her personal space to practice in. After students have gotten the hang of dribbling in their personal space, they can begin to practice in general space while moving. The recommended skill progression would look as follows:

* Single two-hand bounces while stationary

* Consecutive two-hand bounces while stationary

* Two-hand bounces while traveling in personal space

* Two-hand bounces while moving in general space

* Single one-hand bounces while stationary

* Consecutive one-hand bounces while stationary

* One-hand bounces while traveling in personal space

* One-hand bounces while moving in general space

* Two-hand bounces around objects (cones or poly spots)

* One-hand bounces around objects

Later teachers can remind students to keep their eyes up and can change speeds and levels for added difficulty, by having students dribble faster, slower, or at a lower or higher level. …

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