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4 Simple Small-Sided Badminton Games

Posted 2 weeks ago - by Gopher Community

Add more variety to your badminton unit with these 5 small-sided badminton games. These games can be played with 4 or more students and can be played without a teacher! Create your own unique twists to the games by making them cooperative or playing them in an up and down the river format!

Attack and Defend:


The object of this game is to differentiate when players are on offense and need to be aggressive and when they’re on defense.

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Both teams start at the baseline and one team feeds the shuttle to the other team. The two teams play out the point. Whichever team wins the point, runs up to the net. Teams can only win points while they’re at the net. The baseline team can feed any type of shot. It can be a deep lob or a short feed over the net. Every time the net team wins a point, they add it to their score. Once the baseline team wins a point, they transition to offense and can start collecting points. Team battle against each other until one team scores 15 points!

Ping Pong Badminton:


Normal badminton scoring rules apply, but players must alternate hitting the shuttle with their partner (similar to ping pong doubles). This game is great for working on coordination and endurance. It’s also strategic since players must decide where they should hit the shuttle. This game can be played cooperatively or competitively.

Around the World:


Players line up on each side of the net. The first player feeds the shuttle and must run to the other side of the net to join the opposite line. Players continue to switch sides of the net after they hit the shuttle.

Play cooperatively with 4 players by seeing which team can have the longest rally. Play with the entire class by eliminating students after they lose the point. When two players are left, the students must drop their racquet, spin in a circle, pick their racquet up and hit the birdie. The last player left is the winner!

King of the Court – Singles:


This is a competitive game that your students will love! Challengers line up on one side of the court, while the champion is on the other side. Challengers must win two points in a row to take the champion’s spot. If a challenger loses a point, they go to the end of the line and the next challenger feeds the shuttle. Switch the game up and play doubles points with more players!


How to Perform a Push-Up Assessment [Instructional Video]

Posted 2 months ago - by Gopher Community

Teach students how to properly perform the push-up test with this helpful video and detailed instruction. Make push-up assessments even easier by using the Rep-Addition Push-Up Testers to increase accuracy and efficiency. 

Push-Up Assessment Set-Up:

  • Before performing the push-up test, adjust the height of the console so your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle when your chest touches the console
  • Press and hold the “Reset” button to clear the settings back to zero


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Free Downloadable Resources:

View the video on the right for a full demonstration of the push-up assessment. Click the download button to save the video to your computer for your students follow along! An audio file is available for your download as well.

Assessment Instructions:

  • Kneel and place your hands flat on the hand pads at shoulder-width apart, face your fingers forward. Straighten your legs and lift onto your toes with your arms perpendicular to the ground.  
  • Once you begin the push-up test, wait for the instructor to call out, “down.” With your head, back and legs creating a straight line, bend your elbows, until your chest touches the console. Once the tester beeps, your rep has been counted.
  • Slowly push back up once the instructor says, “up”, returning to the starting position, keeping a straight-line posture and only using your chest and arms to propel you! Continue to follow the prompts performing push-ups until you are not able to continue.
  • The test is complete once you perform 75 push-ups or you cannot continue anymore. Once testing is complete, look on the tester for your results and report your score to your teacher!

Good luck on your assessment!

How to Perform a Sit-and-Reach Assessment [Instructional Video]

Posted 2 months ago - by Gopher Community

Use the above video to demonstrate the sit-and-reach assessment to your students. Don’t forget to download it for future use! Make flexibility testing even easier with Gopher’s UltraFlex Testers – giving you the ability to test two to four students at the same time!

Sit-and-Reach Assessment Instructions

You can perform the sit-and-reach test as a traditional test or the back-saver test. The back saver test measures the flexibility of left and right legs separately and avoids the hyper-extension of both knees.

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  1. To perform the back-saver sit-and-reach test, remove your shoes and fully extend one leg, placing the sole of your foot flat against the tester. Bend your other knee with the sole of your foot flat against the mat.
  2. Extend your arms and place one hand over the other. Slowly reach forward four times and hold the positon on the fourth reach for at least one second.
  3. You may repeat the test up to three times, recording your best score to the nearest ½ inch.
  4. Switch legs and repeat the test.

Good luck on your assessment!


How to Perform a Curl-Up Assessment [Instructional Video]

Posted 2 months ago - by Gopher Community

Explaining how to perform national curl-up assessments to students can be difficult. The video above provides detailed, yet easy-to-comprehend instructions for completing a curl-up assessment. Use Gopher’s AssessPro Rep-Addition Curl-Up Tester to make measuring students’ abdominal strength and endurance even easier and more efficient!

Curl-Up Assessment Set-Up

  • To perform the curl-up test, lay down, rest your head on the mat, and straighten your arms with your palms resting on the mat.
  • The first line of the tester is a 4.5-inch test, designed for students ages 10 and up, while the second line is a 3-inch test designed for students between the ages of 5 and 9.
  • Rest your fingertips at the edge of the correct line and place your feet on the tester, keeping your feet flat to the floor. Your heels should be about 12 inches from your fingertips. 
  • Press and hold the “reset” button to clear the tester to 0.


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Free Downloadable Resources

View the video on the right for a full demonstration of the curl-up assessment. Click the download button to save the video to your computer for your students follow along! Download the free audio file below. 

Curl-Up Assessment Instructions

Once you begin the curl-up test, wait for the instructor to call out, “up,” then curl up slowly, keeping your arms straight and feet on the ground while sliding your fingers along the mat to push the big orange button. Once the tester beeps, your rep has been counted.

Slowly curl back down once the instructor says, “down”. Continue to perform curl-ups until you have to stop or record two form breaks.

Your teacher or you partner will be assessing your curl-up form and will keep track of form breaks. Once you record two form breaks, testing is complete.

Form Breaks

There are four form breaks that can occur.

  • If you do not reach up and touch your fingertips to the button.
  • Your feet lift off the ground during a curl-up.
  • Back, shoulders and head doesn’t touch the mat in-between reps.
  • Or movement is inconsistent and you are not able to keep up with the instructor.

The test is complete once you perform 75 curl-ups or you cannot continue anymore. Once testing is complete, look on the tester for your results and report your score to your teacher.

Good luck on your assessment!

Back-to-School PE Checklist

Posted 3 months ago - by Gopher Community

Summer is ending and back-to-school season is right around the corner. Use this checklist, inlcuding forms and paperwork, curriculum, technology, and equipment, to help you get ready for the new school year. 


9 Skill-Based Gymnastics Games for All Ages! [Video]

Posted 3 months ago - by Gopher Community

Students love to play gymnastic games, and teachers love to see their students build strength while learning core skills that align with National P.E. Standards! With these gymnastics games, students can gain core muscle, arm muscle, and confidence in gymnastics and tumbling; all while playing games and having fun! All you need are some mats! Brittney Resler, Owatonna Gymnastics Club Executive Director, shares nine gymnastic games that her gymnasts love and your students will too!

1. Active Warm-Up Game


Grab your students’ attention as you call out spots around the gym. Wherever you call, they need to run to that location. You can mix it up by having your students run to a mat and complete an activity. Bunk Beds, Man Overboard, Fish Eggs, and Lover’s Leap are some fun activities that will get your students instantly moving, and enjoying it!

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2. The Amazing Chase Game


Students will have fun with this ultimate game of tag! Place four mats around the gym and one in the middle. Students then run from one mat to the other, trying to tag the classmate in front of them. Meanwhile, they are running from the classmate behind them. Everyone runs in the same direction to avoid collisions! When a student is tagged, they go to the mat in the middle and complete 15 jumping jacks before joining the game again!


3. Wheelbarrow Workout


Build strength and teamwork! Students need to be in pairs to complete the Wheelbarrow Workout. One student in each pair will hold their partner’s ankles as they walk on their hands from one end of a mat and to the other. That’s not all! Once the holder calls out “Push-up”, the partner must perform a push-up before continuing. Once your students are comfortable with this exercise, have them hold their partner’s hands on their shoulders for an added challenge!


4. Headstand Progression


In this gymnastics video, students practice balance with a headstand progression! Positioned on a mat, students’ knees rest on their elbows. Have them practice balancing in this position. Once they are comfortable, they can lift their legs up, completing the headstand progression!

Take it a step further by having students hold their headstand! In pairs, one student will perform a headstand while the other student is their spotter, holding their partner’s legs up. When you say, “Go”, spotters need to run to another student in the headstand formation and spot them before they fall! The last pair in the headstand formation wins the game! Students should not hold this pose for too long because it can cause light-headedness.

5. Wall Walks


Once students can balance themselves in a headstand, they can move onto a handstand. This is a great activity to build confidence and arm strength. Put a mat on the floor, next to a mat on the wall. Students walk down the mat with their feet against the wall and hands on the floor. This strengthens their core and arm muscles, preparing them for handstands!


6. Forward Roll Progression


Motivate your class as they practice forward rolls! Stack a panel mat on top of another for extra cushion. Students should curve their back while rolling down the mat, looking at their stomachs can help create a c-shape curve in their spine! They can advance in the progression by removing the top mat and beginning their forward roll in the handstand formation.


7. Bridge Breakthrough


Increase core muscles, arm muscles, and stability with Bridge Breakthrough. Students’ fingers face their feet as they push their abdomen towards the ceiling. Once they have perfected the bridge pose, they can challenge their balance by lifting an arm or leg off the ground. Make this exercise a fun gymnastic game by having students give their friends high fives!


8. Shipwreck 


Shipwreck is a tag game that students will ask to play again! Begin with one student, the tagger, on a mat in the middle of four other mats, which are scattered around the gym. The rest of the class begins scattered across the other four mats. Once the tagger yells, “shipwreck”, everyone moves to another mat, running from the tagger. If someone is tagged, they go to the middle mat with the other taggers. The last student to be tagged is the winner!


9. Stick-It Gymnastic Game


Challenge your class with Stick-It! Each student stands on a mat, facing one another in a circle. The instructor calls out various jumps or activities, such as a tuck jump.  The goal is to correctly perform the jump and land on your feet. If a student fumbles or falls, they are out. The last student standing is the winner! This is a great way to end class, and assess which jumps your students have mastered or need to practice more.

Keep students moving and learning with these games, progressions, and challenges! From a game of tag with a twist to a headstand progression, students will learn new skills while having fun!


Continue reading the Gopher PE Blog for more ideas and tips!

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9 Safety Tips for Gymnastics Activities

Posted 4 months ago - by Gopher Community

Gymnastics is an exciting sport to introduce in Physical Education!  As students learn skills from jumping to tumbling, it is important to keep them safe. Brittney Resler, Owatonna Gymnastics Club Executive Director, shares nine tips to follow for a safe and fun gymnastics lesson.


Tip 1:  Always keep mats dry and clean

When mats are exposed to liquids, they become a slipping hazard for students. When it is time to clean mats, use a sanitizer without bleach, like Matt-Kleen Disinfectant. Bleach causes mats to fade and lose their color.

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Tip 2: Place mats purposefully around your gym

With a dusty gym floor, mats can slip, which can be harmful to your students. Place them up against the wall for more static movements, or use the Velcro to attach multiple mats together. Another option is to purcahse non-slip drawer liners to place underneath mats.

Tip 3: Only take mats out when they are needed

Even small mats can be a tripping hazard for your class.

Tip 4: Keep activity areas safe with mats

When using panel mats, cover the whole area students are active in. If you don’t have enough mats to cover your entire gym space, make sure the areas students are practicing cartwheels or handstands in are protected with mats.

Tip 5: Thickness, size, and length are important in choosing the best mat

While planning your lesson, be certain you have the correct mat for each activity! For head-first skills, use a thick mat to protect your students’ heads. Smaller mats can be used for basic jumps. Check out these tumbling mats, all backed by an Unconditional 100% Satisfaction Guarantee!

Tip 6: Tumbling activities require mats and your attention

Don’t include tumbling activities in your lesson without proper mats. It’s important, especially during tumbling activities, that you watch your student.

Tip 7: Only spot skills you are comfortable with

In order to keep students safe, only perform exercises that you are comfortable spotting. If you are not comfortable with a skill, reach out to your local gymnastic’s club to learn proper spotting technique.

Tip 8: Teach students how to land

Sometimes, students understand how to being the skill, but not how to finish. Have your class practice feet-first landings.

Tip 9: Know your district’s safety protocols

Before starting a tumbling unit in your class, seek out your school district’s protocols. If you follow these safety tips, an injury should not occur. If an injury does happen in your class, contact the school nurse immediately.

Tumbling is a very fun and exciting unit that your students will love! If you have any additional safety tips or tumbling activity ideas please share with us in the comments below!


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Gymnastics Activities for Beginners

Posted 4 months ago - by Gopher Community

Gymnastics and tumbling are a great way for students to learn fundamental skills like balancing and rolling, while strengthening their bodies.

Partner V Lean BackIt is great to begin a gymnastics lesson with stretching to warm-up arms, legs, and calf muscles. Next, have students partner stretch to practice balance and gain confidence in beginner stunts such as the Partner Chair Balance, the Partner “V” Lean Back, and the Partner “V” Lean Side.

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  • Partner Chair Balance: Partners face each other and hold hands. Their knees bend and they squat as if sitting in a chair.
  • Partner “V” Lean Back: Partners face each other and hold hands. They lean back until their arms are fully extended.
  • Partner “V” Lean Side: Partners stand side-by-side and hold one of their partner’s hands. They continue to lean until that arm is fully extended.

Having students hold stunt poses with a partner challenges communication and strength.

Balance beanbag on headNext, have students practice balancing on their own. Have them practice balancing on one foot and walking foward and backwards in a straight line.

  • Balancing something, such as a beanbag, on their head can help them keep their chin up, implementing good posture
  • Use jump ropes, floor tape, or chalk to create lines of various shapes
  • Keep tumbling mats folded for safe practice of balancing on an elevated surface
  • Challenge them to balance on various body parts, supporting themselves in more ways than the typical two feet. Hold poses for 10 seconds.

Once they are comfortable walking in a straight line and holding poses, teach your students how to roll across the tumbling mat. The Log Roll, Forward Roll, Straddle Roll, and Cartwheels are fun challenges!

  • Log Roll: Students lie on a mat with their arms straight above their head, rolling on their side, back, side, and continuously moving in this circular motion. They should try rolling in a straight line.
  • Forward Roll: Students balance on the balls of their feet and extend their arms out. Then, their hands move to the mat as they tuck their chin to their chest and tighten their abdominal muscles. Students who struggle tucking their chin can practice holding a beanbag underneath their chin. Students roll forward on their shoulders, by pushing off their feet.
  • Straddle Roll: Start with legs far apart. Bend at the waist, placing hands down on the mat. Their chin should tuck to their chest to protect their head and neck. Roll forward on their shoulders; push off with hands and feet.
  • Cartwheels: Students can begin practicing cartwheels by learning the hand, hand, foot, foot sequence. Next, have them focus on keeping their legs straight up in a “V”. Trying to perform cartwheels in a straight line will help them perfect the skill, strengthen arms, and increase balance.

Once they have mastered balancing, rolling, and tumbling, they can build their endurance by practicing them all in a continuous sequence. Creating sequences offers students the chance to be creative, have fun, and build confidence in their gymnastic skills.

Teaching gymnastics in your P.E. class allows your students to safely learn skills, strengthen muscles, and motivate themselves through new challenges. Share your favorite gymnastics activities for physical education below!


Continue reading the Gopher PE Blog for more tips, ideas, and trends!

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3 Tactical Soccer Games for PE [Video]

Posted 5 months ago - by Gopher Community

Before starting a soccer unit, I find it beneficial for students to self-assess and think about whether they are a beginner, expert, or somewhere in between. This helps them make real-time decisions during the game based on their level of comfort.

I always start with more students on offense to increase scoring and skill practice. Once the students show me mastery of these skills, I make the teams even. I also focus on progressing from warm-ups to conditioning activities, and end each game with one or two focus skills. The focus skills of the games below are passing and possession.

Color Call Out


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The goal of a good warm-up is to get students ready for game play. Focus on a specific skill or activity such as passing, shooting, or keeping your head up.


Teams begin by passing the ball with short passes. Start with stationary passing, and then progress to moving while passing. When either goalkeeper calls your team color, the player on the ball takes two touches and tries to score on that goalie. The keeper then throws the ball out to another team member in the same group and the passing continues. Teachers can use other skills to progress to, such as volleying to a partner, headers, or throw-ins.

Stop every few minutes to stretch dynamically, making sure all muscle groups are stretched.

Attackers vs. Defenders


Disguising conditioning during small-sided games keeps the game fast paced and keeps students actively engaged both physically and mentally.

Set-Up: I recommend setting this activity up in a small-sided games format with multiple fields and teams.

  • 1 large goal at end of field
  • 2 small goals on the sidelines, 1 on each side (use cones or pop-up goals)

The offense will stay in the shape of two forwards up front and five midfielders behind them. Encourage them to “play big” instead of grouping together to make more of a challenge for the defense.

The attacking group tries to score on the big goal, while the goalkeeper and defenders try to win the ball and score by shooting into the two smaller goals down the sidelines. Adding these sideline goals helps eliminate defenders simply clearing the ball into the middle and encourages them to start their attack down the sideline. This also helps the defensive team to stay compact and communicate to help defined as a unit.

Play for about five to six minutes and then switch up defensive and offensive players, so each student gets the opportunity to play both positions.


Soccer Match-Up


This is a possession game where each player picks a partner on the other team. Players are only allowed to defend the person they are matched-up with. I start with a simple scoring system where four consecutive passes earns a team one point. You can adjust the number of passes to increase or decrease difficulty. The goal is to encourage students to dribble the ball and create passing opportunities to their teammates.

This game meets SHAPE America National Physical Education Standards 1 and 2.

Standard 1 - The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.

Standard 2 - The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.


Game and activity ideas provided by Michael Cummings.


Continue reading the Gopher PE Blog for more ideas, tips, and trends!

25 Medicine Ball Exercises [Video]

Posted 5 months ago - by Gopher Community

Medicine Balls are a great way to introduce your class to weight lifting! They are available in a variety of weights, offering a challenge to students who are new to training, as well as established athletes. Their uniform weight allows your physical education class to focus more on form and technique, and the special tacky material and raised panels offer the best grip, making it safe to use. We compiled exercises with medicine balls for a complete workout! In the videos below, you’ll discover medicine ball exercises for upper body, lower body, core, partner passing, and wall-ball passing!

Upper-Body Exercises

Work with a partner to perform theses medicine ball exercises!Pairing your students up can be a great way to motivate them, have more fun and work harder!

From med ball push ups to triceps extensions, this video includes five muscle building medicine ball exercises.

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Lower-Body Exercises

Medicine balls can be used while performing lunges, squats and presses.


Core Exercises

Medicine balls can be a great addition to your core workout!


Partner Passing Exercises

Pair your students up to perform these medicine ball exercises! Pairing your students up can be a great way to motivate them. Workouts can also be more fun with a partner!


Wall Passing Exercises

Utilize your entire workout area by performing med ball exercises against a wall. Either pass against the wall while shuffling or lean against it with wall sits.


Medicine balls are available in 11 individual weights, ranging from 4 to 30lbs, and are also available in sets with storage and instructions. Receive free shipping on UltraFit™ Evolution™ Medicine Balls today by using the promo code VideoFreeShip at checkout!


Continue reading the Gopher PE Blog for more ideas, tips, and trends!

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