Make High Jumping Fun With This Popular Game
“Escape from the Space Monsters” is a team game in which young athletes attempt to escape from a “space monster prison” by successfully clearing a flexible high jump training bar.
NOTE: Before playing this game, young athletes should receive some basic high jump coaching to ensure that they can safely participate.
- High Jump landing mats
- Flexible high jump training bar
- Ground markers (two colours)
Set up all high jump equipment.
Divide the group into two teams. Denote each team by a colour (e.g. “red team”; “blue team”).
Behind the landing mats place two ground markers; one of each team colour (i.e. a red maker and a blue marker).
The athletes line up in front of the mats ready to high jump from their preferred side.
Set the Scene
Explain to the group that they have all been captured by space monsters and are being held in a space monsters’ prison.
The only way of escape is to high jump over an electrified fence (i.e. the high jump flexible bar).
The aim of the game is to be the first team to have all athletes safely out of prison.
If an athlete clears the bar, they have escaped and may line up next to their team’s marker on the other side of the mat. Should another person from the same team escape, they join the line behind their team’s marker. This continues until all athletes have escaped.
Touching the Crossbar
If an athlete touches the bar whilst jumping they have “set off an alarm” and alerted the space monsters, and have therefore not escaped. This athlete must return to the end of the line of those still awaiting their attempt to escape and attempt to clear the bar again when it is again their turn.
In addition, the person in the same team who is standing first in the line of “escapees” on the other side of the mat has also been recaptured by the alerted space monsters and must line up to attempt to escape again.
Continue until one team has all team members safely out of “prison”.
It is difficult to choose a height of bar that is challenging but achievable for all athletes within a group. So:
- Try giving the group a choice of heights from which to choose – one that is relatively easy for everyone and two more of progressive difficulty.
- Attempting and clearing higher heights attracts rewards such as one or two extra “lives” or “free passes” for teammates who touch the training bar attempting to escape. This encourages the more capable athletes to attempt the higher heights.
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Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes, and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.