MatballFocus Skills: Creating Space · Passing & Receiving · Reducing Space
Matball is a Standards-based Invasion game that is suitable for Kindergarten and Elementary school PE programs. It creates a fun, competitive environment that encourages students to push themselves to succeed. It can be used to introduce and reinforce concepts and skills such as creating space, defending space, and passing. Matball can be played in a gym or outdoors.
Divide the playing area into two halves and place a mat in the back of each half.
Divide your class into two teams.
Each team has a passing zone (their half of the playing area) and a mat (which is in the other team’s playing area).
The teacher adds balls to the game. Players can pick up a ball and may move up to the half line to try to complete a pass to their catcher.
If a player completes a pass, they go join their catcher on the mat and become a catcher as well.
The goal of the game is to get all of your team’s players onto your mat (i.e. have them become catchers) before the other team does the same.
Build One: Passing and Catching
To start the game off, divide the playing area into two halves and add an end zone to the back of each half.
Divide the class into two teams. Each team is given a half of the playing area (their passing zone) and must send half of their team into their end zone (which is at the back of their opponent’s end zone).
The teacher adds balls to the game. Players may pick up a ball and can attempt to pass the ball to one of their teammates in their end zone (the passing playing may move up to the half line to do so, but may not pass the line).
If a player completes a pass from their passing zone to a teammate in their end zone, the passing player and receiving player switch roles.
Teams may not interfere with their opponents’ passes and simply try to see how many times they can switch roles within the allocated time.
Build Two: Defensive Pressure
In build two, the teacher increases the tactical complexity of the game by allowing defensive pressure in the game.
Players may attempt to interfere with their opponents’ passes by guarding players in their opponents’ end zone (without stepping into the end zone itself) or by attempting to deny the pass by blocking it at the half line.
Build Three: Matball
In build three, teams now play the full version of Matball.
In this build, there are no end zones. Instead, each team has a mat in the back of their opponents’ half of the playing area.
To start a round, each team selects one player who will go stand on their mat. This player is the first catcher.
The teacher adds balls to the game. Just like in the earlier builds, players attempt to complete passes by passing the ball to their catcher from within their passing zone.
The defending team is allowed to put defensive pressure on their opponents’ by intercepting passes or denying them at the half line.
If a passing player is successful in completing a pass with their catcher, the passing player goes to join the catcher on the mat and becomes a catcher as well.
The first team to get all of their players onto their mat wins the round.
Build Four: Double Matball
In this build, we will continue to increase the tactical complexity of the game by having two mats in the back of each teams’ half instead of just one.
At the beginning of the round, each team sends two catchers over (one for each mat).
This round increases the tactical complexity of the game by having offensive players have to decide which mat to send their pass too and by having defensive players have to make decision on which mat to guard and why.
Grade Level Outcomes
Completing passes under defensive pressure.
Reducing space on defence.
Creating space on offence.
How do you complete a pass with your catcher?
How can you prevent the other team from completing passes?
How do you decide which mat to pass to in double Matball?
How do you decide which mat to defend in double Matball?
Make sure you are using mats that are large enough to accommodate each team.
Catchers have to land with both feet on their mat when completing a pass.
Defensive players may not land on their opponent’s mat at any time.