Incorporating Sitting Volleyball into Physical Education
The sitting game is easily incorporated into a Physical Education program if a court and/or space is available. The sitting game can provide a way to teach the fundamental skills of volleyball along with creating an inclusive activity for students with and without disabilities to participate in together. However, there are several things to consider when teaching sitting volleyball in physical education. First, is the grouping of players. A typical game consists of 12 players (6 on each side of the net). However, a physical education teacher may modify this based on the number of students in the class. It must be noted though, that with the smaller court dimensions, that safety of the players should be of greatest concern when altering the number of players on the court. Moreover, there does not need to be a separation of gender, size (height/weight), etc. when beginning to teach the sport. It is very unlikely that students will become the Misty May or Karch Kiraly of sitting volleyball without many months of training. However, as the students become more skilled at the sitting game, separation becomes essential to continue a level playing field. Physical education teachers should try to eliminate any physical advantages or disadvantages such as height, and muscular strength. Age is not a typical concern because an older athlete may be stronger, yet a younger athlete might be able to move faster.
A second consideration is the equipment. Using portable volleyball standards and attaching the nets at the mandatory height is a requirement. Therefore, it is possible to modify existing equipment to incorporate sitting volleyball into a physical education class at little or no additional cost. When teaching a coeducational class the teacher must select which of the two net heights to use based on skill level and size (height/weight) of the students. The standard court dimensions (10 meters in length x 6 meters wide) should be measured with tape or marked using floor paint. Further, a beach ball or a lighter and softer volleyball could be incorporated with new or inexperienced players. As players become more skilled, a regulation volleyball should be used.
The final consideration is the teachers. They must be educated on how to teach the skills of the game. There are many books and resources available to assist physical education teachers in understanding and teaching the basic skills of standing volleyball which are typically the same methods used to teach sitting volleyball. However, the only aspect that may require some adaptation is how athletes “rotate” through drills as it is difficult in sitting volleyball for athletes to easily switch sides due to the low net height. The following section will provide basic teaching points to help those who would like to incorporate sitting volleyball into their physical education program. (These were obtained from collaboration with John Kessel of USA Volleyball)