Participants learn about and practise striking and fielding a ball while using an implement. This activity is inspired by lacrosse which has First Nation origins. One of the oldest North American sports, lacrosse evolved from games played by nations such as the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois nations) found around the Great Lakes.
Materials and Equipment
- 1 ball (e.g., soft, air-filled ball, wiffle ball) per group
- 5 floor markers (e.g., polyspot, base, pylon) per group
- 1 molded, plastic lacrosse stick per participant
Inspect the activity area and eliminate potential hazards. Check that the activity surface provides safe traction. Set boundaries for the activity a safe distance from walls and obstacles. Provide a safe distance between activities. Check that the batter has sufficient room for an uninterrupted swing of the lacrosse stick.
- Divide participants into small groups (e.g., four to six).
- One participant per group is designated as the batter. The remaining participants are fielders. Each participant receives a lacrosse stick.
- Participants set up four floor markers as bases in a large circle. The last floor marker is set up in the middle of the circle to act as home base.
- The batter uses a lacrosse stick to send a ball into open space in any direction.
- The batter then tries to touch as many floor markers as possible before being thrown out by the fielders. The batter can run to any of the floor markers to start while the fielders try to trap the ball with their lacrosse sticks and get to a floor marker before the batter does.
- Participants rotate once the play comes to an end.
- Participants determine a scoring system and keep track of their own score (e.g., 1 point for each base they touch).
- The leader asks open-ended questions to help participants refine their movement strategies and tactical solutions during the activity. Examples include: As a batter, how do you decide on the most optimal location on the field to send the ball so that it is more difficult for the fielding players? As fielders, what strategies can you apply to be more effective in bringing the ball back to a floor marker? As the batter, how do you decide which floor marker to run to and why? How does communication come to play in this game if you are a batter or a fielder?
To maximize the challenge and the fun, participants could identify their own ways to increase or decrease the challenge.
To decrease the challenge, participants could:
- Stop the play once a player has trapped the ball.
- Use throwing and catching before progressing to using the lacrosse stick.
- Decrease the distance between the floor markers.
- Allow the batters to choose the object they want to send and how they want to send it (e.g., kick a soccer ball, throw a rubber chicken, bat a beach ball).
To increase the challenge, participants could:
- Have the batter send away three balls.
- Increase the size of the activity area.
- Pass the ball to all fielding participants before bringing the ball to a floor marker.
Pause for Learning
Throughout the activity, consider highlighting the following skills, concepts, and strategies for striking and fielding a ball while using an implement. Note that this list is not exhaustive, and further learning opportunities may arise during the task.
Movement Skills and Concepts
- Manipulation and relationship: sending and/or receiving an object with an implement (e.g., knowing how to manipulate a lacrosse stick to send the object into open space while attempting to score runs by running to a series of floor markers)
- Effort awareness: understanding and applying the appropriate force to send the object into the opponents’ open space (e.g., if the opponents are only covering one side of the field, sending the object forcefully to the other side of the field to make it hard for them to retrieve it)
- Tactical awareness: developing an understanding of the principles of play (e.g., as fielders, knowing to spread apart so that all areas of the field are covered to anticipate the different locations the ball might be sent)
- Decision-making: learning to make decisions throughout the game (e.g., as the batter, recognizing where the open space is located and sending the ball to that location)
- Taking responsibility for one's own actions and coping with the outcome (e.g., as a fielder, if you are unsuccessful at catching the ball, reflecting on what can be done the next time to be successful)
Critical and Creative Thinking Skills
- Gathering information and analyzing the plays throughout the game to develop and apply strategies to be successful (e.g., observing the batters and trying to find patterns in their game of play, such as their body position before they strike the ball)
First Nations Inspiration
Lacrosse is an important component of Haudenosaunee culture in terms of conflict resolution, spirituality, and community well-being.
This game was originally played by a large number of participants and was played to help solve disputes in time of conflict as well as to keep participants in good physical condition. Lacrosse also prepared players for their role as peacekeepers in the community.
For all community members, the game is considered “good medicine” as people gather to play, watch, and enjoy themselves. Playing lacrosse can build personal qualities applicable to contemporary life such as showing respect, getting along with others, and trying your best.