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Using TREE

The TREE model is a practical tool designed to support teachers and coaches to adapt and modify an activity to be more inclusive of students with a range of abilities. Each Sports Ability card includes a range of suggested methods that can assist in the implementation of inclusive sport experiences, and supports the development of your new ideas. The TREE acronym stands for:

Teaching Style
Communication and delivery strategies/ideas to assist students achieve success.
 Teaching Style
Simplifying or changing rules, then re-introduce as skill levels increase.

Using different sizes, shapes, colours, textures and/or weights of equipment.


Varying the length, height, zones, floor, and seating/standing conditions of a playing area.



Teaching style refers to the way the game is communicated to the students. The delivery to a group can have a significant impact on how inclusive it is. Using a combination of strategies will help ensure communication is effective and appropriate. Examples include:

  • Keep instructions simple and concise
  • Use visual aids, demonstrations and whistles
  • Encourage participation, team work and problem solving
  • Use questioning to check student understanding.


Some students may have difficulty understanding and following the rules of a game. Rules can be simplified or changed as needed, and then re-introduced as their skill levels increase. To support students you can:

  • Begin activities with only few of the rules (easy to remember)
  • Gradually introduce the rules (one at a time) once students understand the pattern or flow of the activity
  • Try to minimise the time between giving instructions and starting the activity
  • Begin teaching the activities in slow-motion e.g. using a slower moving ball or restricting player movements.


In most cases there are suggestions for alternative equipment included on each of the activity cards. Some examples include:


  • Bean bag, koosh ball, paper & tape ball
  • Plastic guttering for ball-sending ramp


  • Basketball wrapped in a plastic bag or balls filled with rice or seed
  • Use masking tape and string to make tactile lines for the players

Sitting Volleyball

  • Balloon, beach ball, light plastic ball
  • Rope with ribbons attached for a net


  • Light plastic or small flat-edged bat
  • Smaller tables pushed together

Tee Ball

  • Light plastic or paddle bat
  • Balls with different densities e.g. whiffle or foam balls


  • Tennis or badminton racquet
  • Slow moving balls or bean bag

Target Games

  • Small soft cushion or sponge ball
  • Deflated beach ball


When planning activities remember to consider whether or not the playing area is suitable for the mobility levels of all students. It is important to ensure:

  • The floor surface allows smooth running of wheelchairs or other mobility aids
  • Benches or chairs are located at specific areas and can be used by students who have difficulty standing for extended periods
  • Students that experience difficulty standing or walking can participate in activities from the floor e.g. from a sitting, kneeling, or side-lying position
  • You create playing areas that have more space to negotiate tasks and make them achievable e.g. increase the size of the goals to improve the chances of scoring.