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Team Keepaway

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A multipurpose sport-skill game for grades 4-12.
Submitted by Neil Williams, Willimantic, Connecticut.  


Team Keepaway is a great game for a variety of reasons: 1) it helps to develop many of the skills involved in sports like football, soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, hockey, team handball, and ultimate frisbee; 2) it promotes physical fitness and eye-hand coordination; and 3) it provides a lot of vigorous action for the entire class.

Area: An area of one-half basketball court is needed for each game. Team Keepaway can be played indoors or outdoors.

Equipment: Any kind of appropriately-sized ball or throwable/catchable object. Pinnies are needed to designate the players.

How We Play It: The game is essentially like basketball or soccer in that teams constantly change their roles from offense to defense without a significant stoppage of play. The object is to score points by completing a set number of consecutive passes to team members.

1. Teams of 5-6 players seem to work best. Each team is identified with its own color pinnies. The players are arranged as shown in the diagram. One team starts on offense and the other team starts on defense.

2. Defensive players must give the player with the ball a 4-5 foot “free” zone so he or she can pass the ball. “Player to player” defense tends to work best for this game.

3. Points are scored whenever a team is able to complete three or more consecutive passes. If three consecutive passes are completed, the team scores one point; four consecutive passes score two points; and five consecutive passes score three points.

4. The ball is given to the other team when: 1) a player walks or runs with the ball; 2) The ball is dropped, deflected to the ground, or goes out of bounds; 3) a player holds the ball for more than 3 seconds without attempting a pass, and 4) if a team is able to complete five successive passes to score three points.

Immediately after any of the above turnovers the ball is given to a player on the new offensive team and play continues.

5. If the ball is intercepted, play continues with the intercepting team on offense.

When we play, we use the honor system and have the team with the ball count out loud the number of completed passes.

This game is very fast and active. It requires students to think and act under pressure, so turn-overs and errors are common when the game is first being taught.

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