Physical Activities in a Small Gym for High School Students

Coach Giving Team Talk To Elementary School Basketball Team
Small gyms have constraints, but some activities require minimal space. (Image: Highwaystarz-Photography/iStock/Getty Images)

Physical activity is important for all ages, including high school students. It helps keep bones and muscles strong, controls weight and lowers blood pressure. However, according to a 1999 document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 19 percent of high school students are physically active for 20 minutes or more five days a week in PE class. This inactivity increases with age and school grade. But activity can be easily increased, regardless of gym space limitations.

Jump Rope Competitions

While jumping rope is a basic exercise, it provides multiple workout benefits without needing much space for movement. This exercise increases cardiovascular endurance, and its aerobic qualities help burn fat. Also, 15 to 20 minutes of jumping rope can provide a total-body workout. Provide jump ropes for each student. Upon your go command, students will begin jumping rope in an attempt to be the last man jumping. Once a person loses control of his rope or cannot continue, he is eliminated. Hold multiple contests. Provide incentives not to lose, such as assigning extra exercise to those who are eliminated.

Dribble Knockout

This game helps students with basic basketball skills, like dribbling. Students also learn to multitask and hone hand-eye coordination without needing much space. Hand each student a ball and have them scatter around the area. Upon your go, a student will dribble her ball using proper technique while trying to knock other students' balls away. She will continue in an attempt to be the last standing. Note that once a student’s ball is knocked away, she must retrieve the ball and sit out the rest of the game. Play multiple games.

Dodgeball Mat Challenge

Dodgeball works your hand-eye coordination, throwing skills and aim in a confined setting. Separate students into equal groups and lay out as many mats as there are groups. Have each group stand on its designated mat and hand each group five soft foam balls. On go, a group will launch its balls at other groups without stepping off the mat. If a group member is hit or steps off the mat, he is out. If a ball is thrown and an opposing team member catches the ball, the thrower is out. However, once a team is out of balls and can’t grasp nearby balls without stepping off the mat, the whole team must step completely off the mat to retrieve more balls. The amount of balls they get depends on their courage. During this retrieval, any team member hit is eliminated. The winner is the last person or last team standing.

Ball Challenge

This exercise helps teamwork, balance and upper-body movement, and only requires the diameter of the gym. Separate the students into equal groups and hand each group 25 balls, a pen and paper. Designate a holder in each group. Upon your go, the team will hand balls to the holder for three minutes. The holder will attempt to hold as many balls as possible for 10 seconds without using clothes, walls or the floor as support. Once time is called, all holders will line up at one end of the gym, walk to the opposite side and return, careful not to drop any balls. Upon the holder's return, a team member will record the number of balls in his possession. The process is repeated, with each student taking a turn as the holder. After everyone has gone, the team will add up the recorded numbers. The team with the highest number wins. Note that students can’t pick up any balls that drop when walking across the gym.

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