Each year in Boys Physical Education I introduce students to “non-traditional” sports in an effort to expand their skill set and expose them to something new. I enjoy teaching units like this because the students usually start on a similar skill level. This means that we spend a lot of time on skill acquisition so we can play quality competitive games.
This week we are finishing up a sport called Sepak Takraw. Sepak Takraw, or Kick Volleyball as we call it in class, was developed in Malaysia more than 500 years ago. It is the national sport of Malaysia and is currently very popular all over Southeast Asia. It is played at the international level in the Asian Games and has been proposed as a future Olympic sport.
The game is played with a woven rattan ball. We use a plastic version of this ball in class. A badminton net is used on a court that is similar in size to a badminton doubles court. Three players on each side of the net can handle the ball using only their feet, knees, chest and head. These skills are very similar to soccer juggling skills we learned a few weeks ago. The rules and regulations of the game are very similar to volleyball. The play begins with a serve and each team has 3 touches to get the ball back over the net. If the ball hits the floor on your side of the court that is a point for the other team, and they get to serve the next point. The winner is determined by best of three sets. Each set is played to 21. It is hard to picture this sport with words, so here is a link to a video explanation: https://youtu.be/2MyTJopbo4Y.
My classes groan when they hear the explanation of this game. It is a sport that is well out of their comfort zone. Then they see the video and begin to work with the ball, and the attitudes change. When they finally get to play games, the boys have a lot of fun. It challenges them to leave the comfort of the sports and skills they know to try something that is unfamiliar. In my experience, successfully navigating this challenge leads to a sense of satisfaction that is far greater than playing the same old familiar games.