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Conducting a Session

Tips for conducting fun, challenging lessons that maximise participation.


Plan, plan, plan

  • Walk through the session in your mind before you conduct it. Pay particular attention to organisational aspects and the flow of activities.
  • Anticipate what you might do if things aren’t working.
  • The better prepared you are with a plan, the more confident you will feel about some spontaneity on the day!

Plan for:

  • repetition over several weeks to allow for learning and consolidation
  • variety to cater for short attention spans – variety within a game (CHANGE IT) or different games.

Setting up

  • Know what you will need and where it is to be placed before you arrive.
  • Set up ahead of the session.
  • Involve players with specific setting up tasks.

Forming groups

  • A simple ‘1,2,3… 1,2,3’…is quick and easy and avoids players being ‘left behind’.
  • Avoid team captains picking their own groups… imagine if you were the last person picked!
  • Other methods are shown on the Group Management activity cards and can contribute to fun, cooperative play or physical activity. You will need to plan for these and allow time for them.
  • Matching players of different abilities may be appropriate in some situations.

Transition activities

  • An energising transition is to have players touch each corner or each side of the playing area and reassemble in the centre.
  • Using different individual or group locomotions between activities.



  • One group per activity station.
  • More stations means more participation, but can take longer to set up.
  • Set a time limit for participation at each station (generally 2–3 minutes).
  • Have an agreed procedure for assembling, moving to the next station and beginning the new activity.
  • Add some fun and an extra physical challenge by requiring different locomotions between stations.

Introducing the activity

Use the Playing for Life cards. Note the short summary descriptions, illustrations and ‘What to do’.

  • Use the name of the game on the card.
  • Show players the illustrations and demonstrate the activity.
  • Show enough to start the activity – refinements can be introduced later.
  • Make connections to previous games.
  • Some players may not understand the game the first time.


  • Be brief and explicit.
  • Instructions linked to a demonstration are best.


  • Make sure everyone can see.
  • Avoid having the class look into the sun.
  • Use positioning to avoid distractions such as other games.
  • One or two key points only.
  • Allow questions.
  • Get them playing quickly.

Let the kids play

  • Avoid too many interruptions, too much feedback and too many corrections.
  • Make sure most of the session is used for participating in activities and games.
  • Avoid over-coaching.

Let the kids experiment

For example, let the players take the game in a new direction or to another level. After playing an activity challenge players to come up with CHANGE IT variations.

Provide a lead if necessary, e.g. ‘Think of another way of scoring.’

AVOID these

  • Activities that eliminate players.
  • Activities used for punishment or to highlight lack of proficiency.
  • Playing games that highlight a mismatch between a player’s ability and the requirements of the games.

Rules for relays

Relays can highlight a player’s lack of proficiency with a particular technique or understanding of an activity.

Pay particular attention to choosing relays that can accommodate varying abilities.


  • Use age-appropriate equipment.
  • Have alternatives available to suit varying abilities.
  • Balloons work best indoors.

Fun and lots of activity


  • Effective planning.
  • Simple instructions.
  • Variety.
  • Maximise participation time.
  • Encourage skill development.
  • Enough equipment.
  • Use CHANGE IT.

The plodders, the youngest and the smallest

Make allowances.

  • Praise small improvements openly.
  • Ask how they are feeling.
  • Ask their opinion on a game.
  • Give them small challenges.

The more proficient

More proficient children will need challenging.

  • Use them as role models – e.g. changing partners often.
  • Use CHANGE IT to challenge them, e.g. they can only pass below shoulder height, score in a confined area,
  • defend a larger area or they may be ‘1’ in 2 v 1 activities.