Every now and again something on Twitter catches my eye and gets me thinking. A year or two ago, someone shared a link to an article about Teaching Games for Understanding (TFGU) that got me exploring it more and more in my own Physical Education classes. Just recently I found this video about using Teaching Games for Understanding for teaching striking games. As we are doing striking games with year 8 at the moment (with a focus on Softball and Cricket), I thought I could apply this really well to teaching Cricket and some of the strategies and decision making that takes place. This morning I tried it, and I’m very pleased to say it worked really well and we’ll do it again next week with a added modifications.
Because this video is focused on students who are a little younger, I used a similar set up but changed the rules to be more specific to cricket. I used ropes to set out the four playing fields and had sets of stumps in each one. I used the markers at the end of the ropes for the batters to run around to score runs and, instead of a hula hoop, used a marker to show the bowler where to bowl from.
With 6-8 students in each game it provides greater involvement in the game meaning students practice their skills more which is also a benefit, however the biggest benefit is the way the smaller games, with limitations added allowed for students to think about strategy/tactics and how to use their skills to be successful in the game. It also allowed me to group students together who were of similar skill levels which can be difficult in larger groups.
I used the following rules:
- Bowlers had to attempt to bowl with a straight arm, but after a few goes could revert to underarm if they wanted to (many didn’t take this choice which surprised me in a co-ed class)
- Players had to hit the ball so that it stayed in their quadrant. Balls hit outside their quadrant on the full were out.
- Players could score fours using the normal geographical boundaries of the field.
- Players had to rotate fielding positions as batters and bowlers changed so they learned the different skills/decision making issues at each spot.
The first time everyone batted, we played hit and run to keep everyone moving through quickly. However, the second time through, the players could choose to run when they felt like it. They had to make decisions on whether they’d hit it far enough to make it around the marker and back, how far it was from a fielder etc. This decision making was much more easily introduced in this form than ‘normal’ cricket because they had a smaller playing field to work in.
Other observations of the lesson today (and in comparison to other cricket lessons):
- More students were actively engaged than usual.
- When fielding, players had to think about where to stand to cut off runs or to give themselves the best chance of getting a player out if they wanted to get a bat themselves
- Batters were actually choosing which balls to hit to avoid hitting it out of their quadrant
- Bowlers who were able were trying to bowl in areas that would entice batters to hit it out of the quadrant or to where their fielders were.
- Students were asking and answering their own questions about how to get players out, or how to succeed.
I encourage you to have a crack at using something similar.