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Modifying Group Games* *chapter 8 in Block’s book. Martin E. Block, Ph.D. University of Virginia. Introduction to Modifying Games*. 1. Games are not sacred, kids are . If a game is not appropriate for even a single player, it is worth examining and altering to accommodate that player

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Modifying Group Games* *chapter 8 in Block’s book

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Modifying group games chapter 8 in block s book l.jpg

Modifying Group Games**chapter 8 in Block’s book

Martin E. Block, Ph.D.

University of Virginia


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Introduction to Modifying Games*

1. Games are not sacred, kids are.

  • If a game is not appropriate for even a single player, it is worth examining and altering to accommodate that player

    2. Not all games are for everyone, at least not in their traditional configuration.

  • Most games that use regulation rules, equipment, and expectations are beyond the ability of many children in your general PE class (including children with disabilities).

    3. You can modify any game to include anyone.

  • Modifications can be made to accommodate a wide variety of abilities, interests, needs, and resources.

    * From Morris, G., & Stiehl, J. (1999). Changing kids’ games (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.


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Introduction (continued)

4. Whenever possible, include child with disabilities when making decisions about modifications.

  • Many students with disabilities know from previous experience in PE what modifications they need and what works, so take advantage of their expertise.

    5. Get input from classmates without disabilities.

  • Children without disabilities will more likely accept modifications if they help design the modifications.

    6. Give students as many choices as possible.

  • Choices of modifications allow the child with disabilities to be more comfortable with modifications and more successful.


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Introduction (continued)

7. Participating with physical assistance is an acceptable way to participate, especially when the alternative is not participating at all.

  • Some children with more severe disabilities will need a lot of modifications and even physical assistance to play games.

    8. On occasion, play multiple games at the same time with some games following regulation rules and others having modifications.

  • Skilled students without disabilities should be allowed to play regulation games to challenge and improve their skills too.


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Determining whether an Accommodation is Appropriate

1. Does the game modification allow the student with a disability to participate successfully yet still be challenged?

  • The child with a disability should have a meaningful modification in the game, but at the same time the modification should not give the child with a disability an unfair advantage.

    2. Does the game modification make the setting unsafe for the student with a disability or for peers?

  • Safety should always be a priority, so evaluate possible modifications to make sure they allow everyone to play safely.


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Determining whether an Accommodation is Appropriate

3. Does the game modification negatively affect peers without disabilities?

  • You do not want to change the game so much that it ruins it for peers without disabilities.

    4. Does the game modification cause undue hardship on you the PE teacher?

  • Simple changes to rules, equipment, and positions should not be too difficult for you, but don’t feel you have to make new equipment or create brand new games if you do not want to.


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Morris & Stiehl’s Games Design Model (Block, pp 148-150)

  • Understand and Modifying any Game’s Basic Structure

    • Purpose

      • Can vary simple focus (e.g., practice and improve one skill) to expecting children to acquire a variety of skills, concepts, and behaviors. Also, you can have different purposes for different children (e.g., the purpose of playing a game of soccer for a child with Down syndrome might be improving endurance, while the purpose for a very skilled player learning strategies.


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Games Design Model (cont.)

  • Players

    • How many players are in the game or on a team (or even how many teams). For example, you can make teams even by having 5 player (one of which is a child with a disability) v. 3 players (more skilled) in a small-sided soccer game.

  • Movements

    • Vary the types of movements required for different players. For example, in a tag game a very skilled player might have to hop to tag others, while a less skilled player might be allowed to run while everyone else has to gallop. Also, in tennis you might require a skilled child to practice her backhand drop shot while you allow less skilled players to use whatever stroke they are comfortable using.


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Games Design Model (cont.)

  • Objects

    • Objects can be varied in several ways:

      • how a child moves in relationship to an object (e.g., goes under v. over an object),

      • how the object moves a student e.g., (scooter board, using a wheelchair),

      • how an object is used to send other objects away (e.g., bats, hockey sticks, racquets), or

      • how objects are used to gather other objects (e.g., gloves, hands, lacrosse sticks)

    • The key with objects is allowing different children to use different objects to make sure each child is successful and challenged. For example, in a softball game you can allow a less skilled child to hit a ball off a tee while a more skilled child would have to try and hit a pitched ball.


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Games Design Model (cont.)

  • Organization

    • Refers to decisions about patterns, structure, boundaries, and location (position) of players.

      • For example, in a soccer game you can set up zones (defensive, midfield, and offensive zones plus left or right side for each). Players would only be allowed to stay in their zone. This would prevent a skilled player from dominating the game. In turn, you can put a child with a disability in a zone with a peer helper against a less skilled classmate. That would give the child with a disability a chance to be successful and be part of the game (have a chance to touch the ball when it comes into his zone) while at the same time allowing the child to be safe (not having to run around against faster, stronger players).


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Games Design Model (cont.)

  • Limits

    • Refers to general rules for players. You can vary rules for different players by

      • making some rules required for certain players (e.g., making a skilled child dribble with her left hand in a basketball game).

      • Not allowing certain movements by certain players (e.g., tall, strong child cannot spike a ball in certain volleyball games).

      • Making special rules for some players (e.g., no one can steal a ball from a particular player with a disability who is dribbling up the court)

      • Making special team rules (e.g., have to pass the ball three times before you can shoot, or a different players on your team has to shoot each time down the court in basketball).


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Morris & Stiehl’s Games Design Model (Block, p. 150)

  • Modifying a Games Basic Structure

    • Once you understand how to analyze a game, the next step is apply the components outlined previously to specific games.

    • You will want to look at elementary games, lead up games, or regulation games and determine if any of the following need to be modified to allow everyone to play safely and successful:

      • Purpose

      • Players

      • Movements

      • Objects

      • Organization

      • Limits


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Morris & Stiehl’s Games Design Model (Block, p. 151)

  • Managing a Games Degree of Difficulty

    • The final level of analysis is examining each component outlined previously and creating a continuum from easy to difficult that is used to make a game or skill easier or more difficult for a particular student.

      Task ComplexityBall Speed in TennisApplication

      Easystationary ballless skilled, beginner

      ModerateSlow, easy tossmoderate skilled

      DifficultHard hit balladvanced player


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Functional Approach for Modifying Movement Experiences* (Block pp 151-152)

  • Determining underlying components of a skill or game and making modifications. For example, in “Tag”

    Underlying ComponentsPossible Modifications

    • Concept understandingpeer helps child know where to move

    • Balanceallow child to use balance aid

    • Coordinationsimplify movements

    • Agility/Speedhave safe areas

    • Sensory Perceptionpeer can help direct child

    • Strengthnot an issue in tag

    • Endurancesafe areas to rest

    • Flexibilitynot an issue in tag

    • Attentionpeer can help child stay focused

    • Self-controlbehavior plan, peer can help

      * From Kasser & Lytle (2005). Inclusive physical activity. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics


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Accommodations to Team and Individual Sports

  • Page 157-172 in Block’s book has modification for traditional team sports such as basketball and soccer as well as traditional individual sports such as tennis and golf. Modifications are broken down into the following categories:

    • General Modifications

    • Students who use wheelchairs (good upper body)

    • Students who use wheelchairs (limited upper body)

    • Students with visual impairments

    • Students with intellectual disabilities or autism


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