Toss Up

Activity Overview

Participants learn about and practise working with another participant to create a rally by sending a receiving a ball.

  • Junior (Ages 10-12)


  • Gymnasium

Materials and Equipment

  • 1 ball (e.g., tennis ball, wiffle ball) per pair
  • 8 pylons or floor markers per pair


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

  • Divide participants into pairs.
  • Within an activity area, each participant sets up his or her own side using a pylon in each corner. Partners’ playing areas should be facing, with a metre distance in between.
  • One participant stands on each side of the court.

Activity Instructions

  • Using an underhand throw, participants start the game by tossing the ball onto their partner’s side.
  • Participants let the ball bounce once before catching it and tossing it back.
  • Participants work together to maintain a rally and receive a point each time the ball is successfully thrown and received between partners.
  • If a participant tosses the ball outside his or her partner's area, or if a ball bounces twice before being caught, the pair restarts tracking their points.
  • The leader asks open-ended questions to help participants refine their movement strategies and tactical solutions during the activity. Examples include: Describe where the best location is to send the ball to effectively continue the rally with your partner. What kind of throw do you use to help your partner be successful at receiving it? When receiving the ball, what should your body positioning look like?
Toss Up


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.
  • Use a larger or lighter ball (e.g., beach ball, soft-skinned ball, balloon).
  • Reduce the size of each partner's area.

To increase the challenge, participants could:

  • Play two versus two, with participants in the same group alternating catching and throwing.
  • Increase the size of each partner's area.
  • Increase the space between each partner's area.
  • Play from a different position, (e.g., kneeling or sitting down).
  • Add a time challenge (e.g., try to throw/catch a certain number of times in a set amount of time).
  • Use an implement or a hand as a paddle instead of tossing the ball.
  • Put up a net to divide the court (e.g., a badminton net, a skipping rope tied around two large pylons) and challenge participants to send the object over the net.

Pause for Learning

Throughout the activity, consider highlighting the following skills, concepts, and strategies for effectively sending and receiving an object. Note that this list is not exhaustive, and further learning opportunities may arise during the task.

Movement Skills and Concepts

  • Manipulation and effort awareness: applying a controlled force when sending a ball over the net to create a rally (e.g., throwing the ball with a slight force, with a high arc, and in the direction where the partner is located to make it easy to receive it)
  • Spatial awareness: knowing where and how one's body moves to be successful at receiving the ball (e.g., being in a ready position and moving in any direction to successfully receive the ball)

Movement Strategies

  • Tactical awareness: developing an understanding of how to send and receive a ball to create a rally (e.g., when sending: send the ball underhand and in the direction of the partner to make it easy for him or her to receive it; when receiving: watching the object and getting into position to catch the ball, with knees bent and feet ready to move)
  • Application of skills: understanding which skills are required to be successful during the activity (e.g., being able to send a ball over a net and toward the partner to help create a successful rally)