Serve It Up

Activity Overview

Participants learn about and practise sending a ball over a net into a target.


  • Gymnasium
  • Outdoors

Materials and Equipment

  • 6 hoops
  • A large number of tennis balls or volleyballs
  • Tennis racquet (if using tennis balls)
  • Volleyball net or tennis net
  • Volleyball poles (with padding)


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.

Activity Information

Activity Set-up

  • This game can be played serving volleyballs on a volleyball court, or using a racquet to serve tennis balls on a tennis court.
  • Participants set up their court by spreading out 6 hoops on one side of the net.
  • Participants spread out along the serving line of the side of the court without the hoops.

Activity Instructions

  • Participants take turns attempting to serve the ball into one of the hoops.
  • Once a ball has landed in one of the hoops, that hoop is now out of play, and the next participant has to try to serve into the other hoops.
  • Participants track how many serves it takes to hit all 6 hoops.
  • Play a number of times and have participants try to reduce the number of tries it takes to have the ball land in each of the 6 hoops.
  • The leader asks open-ended questions to help participants refine their movement strategies and tactical solutions during the activity. Examples include: Describe how you apply effort awareness when sending the ball over the net to hit a target. Where does your forearm face when you are aiming at a specific target and why? Which hoop would you consider the easiest/hardest target for you? Describe why.


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:

  • Keep all of the hoops in play throughout the game.
  • Lower the height of the net.
  • Make the serving line closer to the net.
  • Choose the object they want to send and how they want to send it over the net (e.g., underhand throw a bean bag, forearm serve a beach ball).

To increase the challenge, participants could:

  • Modify the hitting techniques (e.g., use only non-dominant hand).
  • Change the ball to a smaller object (e.g., tennis ball, wiffle ball).
  • Assign a point value for each of the hoops. Participants attempt to score as many points as possible with 10 serves, with all hoops remaining in play throughout the game.
  • Work in pairs and take turns choosing a hoop for the other participant to send their object to.

Pause for Learning

Throughout the activity, consider highlighting the following skills, concepts, and strategies to help participants send a ball over a net and into a designated target. Note that this is not an exhaustive list, and further learning opportunities may arise during the task.

Movement Skills and Concepts

  • Manipulation skills and effort awareness: Applying a controlled force to send an object over a net and to a target

Movement Strategies

  • Understanding and developing tactics to participate in the game (e.g., considering the order of the servers since the first participants serving the ball will have more chances to hit a target)

Living Skills

Personal Skills

  • Understanding one’s own strengths with skills/concepts/strategy application and areas that need improvement (e.g., knowing when to apply an underhand serve or overhand serve to be successful at hitting a target)