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Using Potted Sports at School Leadership Camps

Potted Sports consists of a series of simple physical activities designed to help develop teamwork and leadership skills in a competitive environment at school camps. The emphasis is on the word ‘simple’, ie activities that do not require any special skills.

These activities allow students in each group the opportunity to work together to create the best results. They also allow students with leadership skills to emerge and other students to shine in ways other than others expect of them.

When planning these activities, you should keep the following suggestions in mind.

  • You will need an oval or room for the activities.
  • You will need to create a map or diagram indicating where each activity will take place.
  • Activities should be close together to allow for ease of movement and little loss of time between activities.
  • Each activity must have a teacher who supervises it, explains it to the students and maintains the points awarded to each team.
  • Teachers in charge of each activity must strictly adhere to the time allocation for each activity to be fair to all groups and to keep all activities on time, ie all activities will start and end at the same time. If a group is slow to start or late, they are only given the time remaining after the start whistle to complete the activity.
  • If the group breaks the rules of the activity in an effort to obtain a better result, the teacher of the activity will sanction the offending team. Penalties must be consistent and follow a warning.
  • All members of the group must participate equally in all activities.
  • All activities are simple so that all students have the opportunity to participate.
  • A schedule of activities should be created for each team.

Execution of the competition:

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • This is a team activity for which points will be awarded, for example 100 points for first, 80 for second and so on.
  • For the team to do it well, they need to plan the best way to do it for the best results. They could spend some time deciding the best way to do it before kickoff.
  • Activity teachers should NOT offer HELP except to indicate danger, etc.
  • All activities will begin and end with the camp leader’s whistle.
  • Groups are encouraged to move quickly between activities so that they have the maximum time available to score points on each activity and plan the best way to do it.
  • All students in the group must participate in each activity and take their turns in the correct order.

Examples of activities:

Below are the activities I used at a camp I organized with the locations we used to give some examples of the types of activities that can be used successfully. The list contains a description and the rules for that activity.

Steeplechase relay (10 minutes)

  • The idea is to get as many people as possible around the course in 10 minutes. (Note: some obstacles that can be dangerous in the “fuss” of a competitive situation may be prohibited).
  • For each circuit of a member of the group you get one point.
  • If you fall off an obstacle, you must do it again until you make it.
  • NO ONE can pass you.
  • You can get help from your group.

B target practice(10 minutes) Place: near the pool

  • Your group will receive seven tennis balls.
  • The target(s) will be placed ten paces away.
  • The idea is to hit the target as many times as possible.
  • Anyone caught on the throwing lines loses five points for their team.

C Basketball Lay-ups(10 mins) Coming: b/short ball

  • Objective: Score as many goals as possible after a layup.
  • All members must make layups before shooting on goal.

D Basketball Shot on goal(10 mins) Coming: b/short ball

  • Objective: Score as many goals as possible from the free throw line.
  • Time – 10 minutes
  • All members must shoot on goal, lining up one behind the other to do so. After his throw, the student must retrieve the ball, return it to the next thrower, and return to the end of the line to throw again.

Electronic football dribbling practice (10 min) Place: oval

  • Objective: to dribble the ball along a twenty meter stretch as many times as possible in relay form.
  • Dribbling MUST NOT include kicking a ball more than one meter at a time. Penalty: Subtract 1 point
  • Hands should not be used. Penalty: Subtract 1 point

F-ball relay (10 mins) Place: short oval

  • All members form a large circle five paces apart.
  • Objective: To relieve by throwing a ball from limb to limb as many times as possible around the circle.
  • A circle = 1 point
  • A dropped ball must return to the pitcher.
  • A ball lost by a player must be returned or a one point penalty will be applied.

G tennis ball relay (10 minutes) Place: short oval

  • On a netball court, team members must line up in two rows on the long sides of the court, facing each other.
  • The objective of the relay is to throw the ball from one side of the court to the other as many times as possible.
  • One point is awarded each time your team goes from start to finish. The ball is then relayed with a shot back to the start to start over.
  • If you drop the ball, you return to your position to shoot again. Penalty = 1 point

H Medicine Ball Relay (10mins) Place: short oval

  • All balls are relayed running from one side of the court to the other. Then these five members run back to the other side.
  • The next five members run and retrieve the balls.
  • The third group of members crosses the balls again and so on.
  • One point is awarded for each time all the balls cross the court.

A few final comments I will add that came from experience using Potted Sports at school camps.

  1. The above is an actual set of Potted Sports activities used at a camp I organized for a high school group.
  2. The number of activities should be equal to the number of student groups.
  3. 10 minutes is enough time to create the need for students to hurry up.
  4. 10 minutes is not too physically strenuous for students.
  5. The time between activities should only be long enough to move easily between activities and leave some time to rest and for the group to find the best way to do the next activity.
  6. It is important to make sure that all groups are ready to start the first activity together. This prevents complaints from students that they were not “fairly treated.” Arrange a signal between you and the activity teachers to ensure a fair start.

It has been my experience that these types of activities create fun and excitement for the students and allow everyone, including some students with disabilities, to contribute to the success of the team. It is successful because no student needs any special experience to fully participate.

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