Rather than just boring feeding, place an object behind your students for them to 'guard' or protect by hitting the ball away from it. I explain to them that I will be trying to hit the object with the ball I am tossing. If my ball hits their object, I get a point. I toss 5 balls to each player in very quick succession. It is amazing to see students who may be struggling to make contact suddenly hitting 5 out of 5. This activity also alleviates crazy messy backswings, since the hopper or cone is right behind the player and they don't want to hit it.
My students love the idea of working together to keep me from getting a point. They cheer each other on with each successful turn at defending. Suggest setting a number such as 5 points for coach's goal so that even if you happen to hit the object once or twice, the kids still feel a sense of accomplishment even if I do happen to get lucky a time or two.
Many variations on this game - use your imagination.
- Move the object around on the court.
- Ask for all forehands or all backhands.
- Award points to the players instead, for every successful defending shot.