Monday, September 16, 2013
Mat Ball was one of my favorite physical education games to play in high school. It was a school favorite and we normally played on the last day of the week or on a special occasion. We did not actually have a Mat Ball unit at my school so when we played it was rare and there was a very good amount of cooperation by all of the students in the class. The game is a mixture of kickball and baseball. It is a very active game and not many people are stationary while playing.
The rules of the game are very simple as long as they are explained correctly and with certain points emphasized. The rules that come from baseball are you must run the bases in order from right to left or counter-clockwise, which ever is better understood by your students, if you catch the ball in the air then the person who kicked the ball is automatically out, and you can move base to base whenever you like as long as you believe you will not get out. The main kickball rule that crosses over in the game of Mat Ball is if a runner is not on a base and is hit with the ball that runner is then called out. The differences from the regular rules are not that much of a stretch but they are quite difficult to remember at first, but once you get used to the rules it is easy to adapt. The rules are as follows: there are no foul balls; every ball kicked is a fair ball, if the batter does not kick a fly ball that is caught then that person automatically gets to advance to first base, and there are five bases including home plate; which are normally in the four corners of the gym, and the final complex rule of Mat Ball is that you can run from base to base however you please, you can stay on a base for how many batters you want and as many people can be on a base as long as they want. If the teacher chooses they can make a certain height on the back wall be a home run, as long as the ball is kicked in the air and is higher than the marked spot.
The pros of the game is that all class members can participate in the game if they apply themselves. There is a lot of cardio when running the bases and there is critical thinking happening during the game because of the strategy that goes into playing the complex game. The game is also a good team builder and makes the students work as a group for a common goal. Some of the cons of the game include standing in line waiting to kick and having those handful of students who do not want to play just because they are having a bad day or whatever reason they have for not participating. Those handful of students can cause problems with the kids who are very competitive and want to win at all costs, even if it means hurting the feelings of a classmate. There are also the kids who throw the ball to hard at their classmates when the runner is trying to go from base to base, but with good classroom management you can take care of all those cons. In the end, the game was a school favorite where I come from and I am sure if you can get the rules down for your students it can be a favorite for your students as well.