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Challenge Task: Volley Up

Task Description:

Three youngsters stand in a triangle formation three giant steps from each other. The challenge is to volley a ball (not a beach ball or a balloon) 10 times in a row without the ball hitting the ground. Each youngster must contact (volley) the ball at least twice but may not strike it twice in a row.

Pictures/Videos of this Challenge

Printable Description of the Volley Up Challenge (PDF)

Administering this Challenge:


  • Ball that can be easily volleyed, e.g. foam ball, lightweight volleyball, volleyball trainer ball, etc. Cannot be a balloon or beach ball.


  • This challenge can be performed either indoors or outdoors. On windy days, however, it can be more difficult to successfully complete this challenge outdoors.

Starting and Stopping:

  • Have the three youngsters stand shoulder-to-shoulder facing each other and then take 3 giant steps back.
  • One youngster with the ball initiates the activity by tossing the ball to him/herself or by tossing the ball to another group member.
  • The initial toss does not count as a volley.
  • The youngsters may only use their hands and/or arms to volley.
  • If a youngster hits the ball twice in succession (a double hit) they start the challenge again.

Challenge Diagram:








Youngsters stand shoulder to shoulder.

Then, they take 3 giant steps back.

Volley Up image for pe central challenge

Challenge Comments:

  • There is no limit to the number of attempts in order for a group to successfully complete the task.
  • Youngsters are encouraged to "move to the ball" after the initial toss.
  • To satisfactorily complete the challenge, a youngster must be a part of a group that successfully volleys a ball at least ten times in a row as described above.
  • Youngsters may be members of more than one group, so it is possible for youngsters to successfully complete the challenge more than once in order to help other youngsters in achieving the challenge.

Performance Cues:

  • "Quick Feet": Move your feet to get under the ball -- do not remain stationary.
  • "Push Up": Volley (push) the ball up high into the air.
  • "Talk": Communicate with your group members by saying "I got it" or "Mine".

Practice Tasks:

  • Have youngsters continuously volley balloons, beach balls or light weight balls to themselves against a wall or to themselves.

  • Have partners volley balloons, beach balls or light weight balls back and forth to each other. If youngsters have difficulty with this task, allow the ball to bounce once in-between passes. To challenge youngsters, have them volley across a net or a rope strung between two chairs.

  • Have youngsters volley a ball, let it bounce once, and then move quickly to the ball for another volley. The idea is to travel from one point to another by repeating this task.

  • Have one partner stand at the volleyball net or a rope between two chairs. The other partner stands at the service or end line holding an inflated balloon (about 10 feet distance).The youngster holds the balloon up high and when the other youngster "sees" the balloon has been dropped, he/she runs toward the balloon and tries to "Keep It Up" (remember to use hands and/or arms only). Increase or decrease the distance as needed to ensure the task is challenging, yet can be successfully performed by the youngsters.

Ideas Adapting Challenge for Students with Disabilities:

  • Self volley to yourself 10 times in a wheelchair
  • Strike a ball at a target 10 times successfully
  • Use balloons, beach balls, or plastic balls
  • Use balls of various sizes
  • Increase or decrease volley number
  • For visually impaired, catch a beeper ball 10 times volleyed to them
  • Bounce ball continuously for specific time
  • self volley inside large hula hoop 10 times with balloon or volley ball
  • volley with teacher, 10X using balloon or beach ball
  • scarf juggling - self toss & catch ____ times
  • catch ball tossed in high arc by teacher ____times
  • launch ball 5 times overhead with foot launcher

Helpful References for this Challenge:

PE Central Tasks for Volleying:

Additional information can be found in:

Graham, G., Holt/Hale, S. A., & Parker, M. (2001). Children moving: A reflective approach to teaching physical education (4th ed.). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield. (Chapter 28: Volleying & Dribbling, pp. 517-553).

Holt/Hale, S. A. (1998). On the Move: Lesson plans to accompany Children Moving (4th ed.). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield. (pp. 259-274).

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