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Challenge Task: Paddle Strike

Task Description:

Strike a ball with a short or long-handled paddle or racket in the air continuously for 60 seconds to your self while remaining in a 3-4 foot diameter space, e.g. hoop, jump rope formed into a circle. The circle must remain stationary for the entire 60 seconds.

Pictures/Videos of this Challenge

Printable Description of the Paddle Strike Challenge (PDF)

Administering this Challenge:


  • Short or long-handled paddles (foam, plastic, wooden)
  • Short or long-handled lightweight rackets
  • Ball (foam, tennis, yarn, whiffle, etc.)
  • Hoops or jump rope (to mark diameter on ground)


  • Place hoop or jump rope formed into a 3-4 foot diameter circle on the ground. Both feet must remain in the hoop at all times during this challenge. The circle must remain stationary during the task.
  • If youngsters step outside of the circle or miss a strike, please have them start the challenge over.

Starting and Stopping:

  • Administer the challenge using either hand ("Go" hands up and "Stop" hands down) and/or verbal Go and Stop signal.

Challenge Diagram:

strike to success

Challenge Comments:

  • There is no limit to the number of attempts to satisfactorily complete this challenge. To increase participation, consider setting up several striking stations.
  • Tennis-sized foam balls, yarn balls and short-handled rackets are recommended for better ball control.

Performance Cues:

  • "Grip": Use shake-hand grip to hold the paddle/racket.
  • "Bend Knees": Keep your knees slightly bent.
  • "Firm Wrist": Wrist stays firm.
  • "Strike": Strike the ball upward and keep the paddle in a "flat" position.
  • "Flat racket/paddle": Face of paddle/racket points to the sky or ceiling.
  • "Strike": Strike the ball upward in front of body.

Practice Tasks:

  • Strike upward a ball suspended with a rope.
  • Strike a balloon upward with a lightweight paddle.
  • Balance balls and objects on a paddle while remaining stationary or traveling.
  • Strike a ball in the air continuously with a paddle.

Ideas Adapting Challenge for Students with Disabilities:

  • Strike whiffle ball off tee with bat 10 times
  • Kick a ball into a designated area 15 times
  • Self throw a scarf to self 10 times
  • Increase or decrease time
  • Use different kinds of paddles or racquets
  • strike ____ wiffle balls on tee with bat into fair territory. (or hit bleachers, gradually move the tee farther from the bleachers)
  • kick rolling ball into fair territory ____ times
  • strike ___ wiffle balls off tee with hand (side arm strike)
  • strike teacher tossed balloon with racket ____ times
  • strike wiffle or balloon suspended from string using side arm pattern ____ times
  • self volley balloon with racket continuously for ____sec. while standing in 3-4 diameter space

Helpful References for this Challenge:

Graham, G., Holt/Hale, S. & Parker, M. (1998). Children Moving: A reflective approach to teaching physical education (4th Edition). Mayfield: Mountain View, California.(Chapter 29: Striking with Rackets & Paddles, pp. 555-580)

United States Tennis Association School Programs, Tennis Curriculum. (1993). United States Tennis Association. New York, NY: White Plains (pp. 21-24).

Fronske, H. A. (1997). Teaching Cues for Sport Skills. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, (pp. 221-222).

Douglas, P. (1991). Learn Tennis in a Weekend. New York, NY: Knopf. (pp. 28-31).

Douglas, P. (1991). The Handbook of Tennis. New York, NY: Knopf. (pp. (38-34).

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