Modified Tennis Activity for PE

modified tennis activity PE

April showers bring May flowers!

When you have an outdoor tennis unit in April, mother nature forces you indoors quite often for physical education classes. This makes you think outside the box when guiding your students to develop their tennis skills inside a gymnasium. At last years SHAPE National Convention, I was introduced to a game called PaddleZlam (@PaddleZlam). Justin Schleider, a physical education teacher, shared this game within the #physed Voxer group. This innovative educator brought a few sets with him for us to play during the SHAPE National Convention and within minutes we were hooked! This is such a fun, energetic and active game. I could not pass up the opportunity to share this game with others.

Using the equipment my school has at hand, I modified and introduced this activity during the tennis unit. It’s perfect for high school students developing racquet-type skills, especially when weather forces classes indoors.

Equipment Needed:


set up for modified tennis PE

How to Play:

  • Set up a polyspot with 1 or 2 bowling pins on it.
  • Place another set approximately 20 feet away. One student stands behind each set of pins.
  • The students will be working as partners (which I refer to below as Partner A and Partner B) to perform a serve-set-hit pattern.
    • Partner A  performs an underhand serve to Partner B.
    • Partner B is going to set the ball back to the server (Partner A) who is now running towards the setter.
    • Partner A then utilizes a forehand or backhand to hit the ball into the pins attempting to knock them down.

PaddleZlam is a great back-yard type game that physical educators can incorporate into their curriculum. In order to develop students’ tennis skills in this modified tennis game, I allowed for the ball to bounce once before the set and the final hit to knock the pins over.

Additional Challenge:

After some practice time with partners, I paired two groups together at each set of pins to compete against each other. Team 1 served twice before Team 2 would do the same. The objective of the game was to be the first team to get to 11 points while fine tuning and better developing their skills. There are numerous ways you can be creative and modify this activity to fit all grade levels. Try it today like this or with your own twist and post how you it has enhanced your lessons. Here is a video of my students playing:

modified tennis About the Author:

Craig Kemmlein received a Bachelor’s Degree in Health & Exercise Sciences from Gettysburg College and a Master’s Degree in Movement Sciences from Barry University. After a 12 year career as an Athletic Trainer, mainly at the high school level, he obtained a Teacher Certificate in Health & Physical Education through Eastern University. Craig has been teaching Physical Education for five years at Cedar Crest High School (Cornwall-Lebanon School District) in PA. In April 2017 he was named the LLBAHPERD Teacher of the Month. Follow Craig on Twitter @coachkemmlein and Instagram @coachkemmlein.

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