Squish

Activity Overview

Participants learn about and practise sending and receiving a ball off a wall to attempt to score a point in their opponent’s court.

Facility

  • Gymnasium
  • Outdoors

Materials and Equipment

  • 1 ball per pair
  • 6 pylons per pair

Safety

Inspect the activity area and eliminate potential hazards. Check that the activity surface provides safe traction. Identify a line that is a safe distance from the wall and that the ball must cross to be played. Players are not to attempt playing any ball in the area between the line and the wall. Provide a safe distance between activities.

Activity Information

Activity Set-up

  • Divide participants into pairs.
  • Each pair finds a space against a wall and marks out their court using a pylon for each of the back corners and a pylon beside the wall for each of the front corners. Participants divide their court into two sides by putting one pylon in the middle of the square between the back pylons and another pylon beside the wall between the front pylons.
  • One participant stands on each side of the court.

Activity Instructions

  • Participants use their hands as a paddle to hit the ball so that it hits the wall and bounces into their opponent’s area. Participants try to hit the ball so it is challenging for their opponent to return.
  • The opponent tries to return the ball to the other side of the court before the second bounce.
  • A point is scored by a participant if their opponent is unable to return the ball before the second bounce, or if the ball does not land within the boundaries.
  • The leader asks open-ended questions to help participants refine their movement strategies and tactical solutions during the activity. Examples: Describe how you decide where to send the ball against the wall in order to make it a challenge for your opponent to return the ball to you. What does your body have to do in order to prepare to receive the ball in your court? Which part of your hand do you use to successfully hit the ball to the wall? How do you decide on the amount of force to use when hitting the ball to the wall so that you are successful at scoring a point?
Squish

Adaptations

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:

  • Allow two bounces before receiving the ball.
  • Choose the ball (e.g., volleyball, beach ball, soft-skinned ball) they want to send.
  • Catch the ball before returning it to the wall.
  • Take away the dividing line and work as a pair to keep a rally going.

To increase the challenge, participants could:

  • Play two versus two with participants on the same group alternating hits.
  • Change the manipulation to kicking or using a racquet.
  • Modify the hitting techniques (e.g., use only non-dominant hand).
  • Play kneeling or sitting down.
  • Use a smaller ball (e.g., tennis ball, wiffle ball).

Pause for Learning

Throughout the activity, consider highlighting the following skills, concepts, and strategies to help participants send and receive a ball off a wall to attempt to score. 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/receive an object to/from a wall (e.g., hitting the ball with a flat hand, facing the inside of your hand where you want the ball to go, keeping your wrist straight)
  • Body awareness: Recognizing the relationship between certain body movements/positions and successful play when sending the ball to, or receiving the ball from, a wall (e.g., position your body with knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart, hands out, and eyes focused on the ball to anticipate where it is going)

Movement Strategies

  • Understanding and developing tactics in order to participate successfully in the game (e.g., using different amounts of force to send the ball off the wall at varying angles and distances)

Living Skills

Critical & Creative Thinking Skills

  • Applying problem-solving skills to decide how to send/receive the object to or from a wall and into a designated space (e.g., hitting the ball off different parts of the wall to send the ball to different areas of the opponent’s court)