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3-5: Overhand Throwing

by Bozena Mielczak, Learn NC

The students will perform the skills of throwing overhand. This is the third lesson in Manipulative Activities Unit in 2nd quarter that follows lesson on throwing a ball underhand.

A lesson plan for Grades 3–5 Healthful Living Education

Learning outcomes

After this lesson, the students should be able to perform and identify critical components of overhand throwing: pulling arm back while rotating an upper body, leaning L, step with the opposite foot, throwing (de-rotating and releasing a ball), and following through.

Time required for lesson: 45 minutes


  • tape player
  • prerecorded warm-up music with intervals of walking and jogging music
  • variety of small balls–as many as partner pairs
  • tennis deck rings (or hoops)–as many as balls
  • about 8 to 9 six-inch foam balls
  • about 16to 20 bases
  • clip board
  • pencil
  • throwing rubric
  • PE Star slips


All PE routines, procedures, and signals should be taught during the first weeks of the school year, so students know what to expect in each class and transitions are taking very small amount of time.

1. The students enter the gym and immediately start warm-up, moving in a single line around the gym routine with the tunes of prerecorded music. The warm-up routine includes about 5 minutes of walking and jogging intervals 20:40 seconds. During the walking segment students do variety of arm and trunk movements (swings, turns, twists, circles).

2. After 5 minutes, students walk to their assigned number (in alphabetical order, in 4 lines with 8 students per line) for lesson introduction. This allows for quick check of attendance and preparation for class (attire) during the introductory segment of each lesson. When child comes unprepared numerous times, pre-printed parent note is sent to parents with the student.

The day’s schedule, SCOS, lesson objectives, skills to be practiced, safety rules, cognitive information, rubrics, homework assignment, and vocabulary of the unit are posted on the boards in front of the students (ball, roll, throw, opposite, threw, catch caught, step, swing, target, underhand, overhand). The new lesson is briefly introduced: overhand throwing and working cooperatively with different classmates.

Overhand throw is demonstrated with the rubric cues: pull and turn, leaning L, step, throw, and follow through.


1. After the lesson introduction, while students unite with their PE partners, teacher spreads out tennis deck rings or hoops in line in the middle of the gym. Different ball is placed on each ring/hoop. Balls are small for easy gripping.

2. All students need to face the teacher. Teacher leads overhand throwing technique practice without equipment. About 3 to 5 minutes.

a. All students repeat the cues in order: pull and turn, leaning L, step, throw, and follow through.

All students go through the motion of underhand throw repeating cues. Teacher makes sure students use opposition of arm and leg and end arm pull with backwards leaning L, and rotate shoulders.

3. Partners stand up facing each other besides the other pairs of partners with a ball between them. They play “rock, paper, scissors, shoot” and the winner picks the ball up, partners move apart as far as they can go across the gym and practice overhand throwing repeating cues out loud. Teacher circulates, gives students individual feedback, and checks on a rubric the names of students and mastered critical elements.

4. After a minute or so, teacher whistles, students approach the ring/hoop, place a ball down and give one complement about partners’ performance before sliding to the right to the next ball, following teacher’s directions: “Point to the right, slide, play (rock-paper), throw.” This procedure was learned and used in previous lesson. This practice should take about 15 minutes. Teacher circulates and reminds the students cues of overhand throwing.

5. Students play last time “rock, paper” and winner takes ball to designated container, second partner puts away ring/hoop.

6. Students form teams of 3 and sit down together.

7. Students will be using overhand throwing in a game called “Base Runner” (Kurt Hinson) for 15 minutes. See attached explanation and diagram. Teacher circulates and reminds students the cues of overhand throwing.

8. After about 15 minutes, the students sit down for class closing procedure again on their assigned number. a. Reach toward their toes in pike position. b. Lesson summary: review class assignment, underhand throwing rubric, and new vocabulary used in class. c. Homework assignment: underhand throwing and catching a ball every day. d. Locating belongings (jackets, nametags, etc.). e. Self assessment on the High Five board located at the exit door. f. PE Super Star slip pick-up.


In fourth grade, I use a throwing rubric that contains rows for students’ names and 5 columns for each critical element of an overhand throw to be checked off. This assessment may take longer than one lesson unit.

Teacher hands out cloth pins during the class for excellent performance and effort, which are exchanged for PE Star slips when leaving the class.

One student is nominated to be a Sunshine of the month for super preparation for class, attitude, effort, participation, etc.

While leaving the gym, students assess their performance by giving themselves either high five (green hand), medium five (yellow hand) or low five (red hand) located on the wall at the door.


Adaptation during the warm-up for the students with limited mobility: students perform warm-up at their pace on the inside circle.

When there is uneven number of students for partner practice, the student without a partner is first on the right in line and is throwing a ball to the wall and catching for one rotation.

In Base Runner game, student using a wheel chair can team-up with his/her classmate, who will be doing running and both will team-up in throwing and tagging a runner.

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