• Karen Adams

Game, Set And Match! How To Recreate A Sporting Event In Your Garden

Calling all sports fans! With all the top sporting events now put on ice - no Wimbledon for tennis fans, no Premier League matches for fans of the beautiful game - the time has come to recreate the great sporting tournaments in your own garden. We've come up with some great fun garden ideas for kids and anyone who is missing their sporting fix - we even have some ideas on how to create your own Olympics! We have tried to include ideas whatever the size of your outdoor space. So dig out your running shoes, get warmed up and have some sporting fun with the rest of the family without leaving your garden.

Tennis You'll need a net for your garden game of Wimbledon. If you don't have a net lurking in a garden tennis or badminton set in the shed, you could string a rope across the garden, or use the washing line. To make it more effective, hang some sheets or blankets over it to create the actual 'net'. If you have rackets and proper tennis balls, brilliant, if not try using a sponge ball, bean bags or even balloons. Remember you need a gold plate to present to the winner - make one out of some cardboard and you can then write on the winner's name and date of your family lockdown tournament. On your own? Make use of the house or garage wall - use some chalk to mark the net, or draw some numbered targets on the wall - can you get a high score? If you don't have a wall, set up some (clean!) bins or boxes and try to hit the ball in them. Hang an old sheet over a goal or over the washing line and use it to practise your shots against. Here are more ideas for on how kids can learn tennis in your garden. Football If you have garden goals, you have everything you need to recreate your own fun, family garden tournament. If you want to get serious, you could mark out the pitch - if the grass needs a cut, try mowing the lines to mark out the edge of the pitch and the goalmouth. If it goes horribly wrong you can always mow it away! You can buy special marking paint designed for gardens, but unless you happen to have some sitting in the shed you may have to get creative - chalk, kids poster paints, any paint you happen to have. Be warned though, that oil-based paint will not do your grass any favours, so if you're attached to your lawn, avoid them. On your own? No goalie? Use an old sheet or tarpaulin, cut out some circular targets top right, top left, bottom left, bottom right and in the centre, and peg over the front of the goal or over a washing line and practise your penalties. Get some online coaching inspiration here. Athletics With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed until 2021, athletics fans will have to recreate their own Super Saturday in their back garden. Get ready to prepare your garden for kids to win multiple medals. If you're organising several events, you should have a score board. This can be a blackboard or easel whiteboard if you have one, or just a big piece of paper. Hint: scorer is a good job for anyone in the family who doesn't fancy having to take part in any events themselves! Track Races are simple, but if you have a small garden, it might be safer to race against the clock rather than each other. In a small garden, how about giving the race walk a try - you know, the ones with the wiggly hips! If you want to see how to get the technique right, watch this video. Introduce some variety in your running races by setting up some hurdles - they could be cones, cushions, plant pots . If you have some footie cones, set them about a foot apart and rest a stick across to create a hurdle. You will have to get creative - it might be toy swords, guns - whatever you can find that is sticklike! Throwing Events If you have several children, especially little ones, make sure you have clear rules about staying behind the thrower so that no one is in danger of getting hit by a flying projectile. Javelin A pool noodle makes a good javelin. Cut it in half and tape a straight stick through its middle if it is too curly or wiggly. Dig out a measuring tape so you can record the scores properly. Also you could use a Nerf Vortex Howler if you have one - it looks like a rugby ball with a tail. It uses a similar throwing action to the javelin and is what younger athletes use before they graduate to the real thing. Shotput Keep the measuring tape out for the shotput event. You'll need a ball that can be held in the hand - a tennis ball would be just fine. Remember the young athletes need to push from the shoulder, rather than throw if they want to work on the 'proper' technique. If you want an official-looking throwing circle for your garden, ideas include marking one out using some rope or tape, or drawing a chalk one on the ground. You can use it for the Discus throwing, too. Discus Obviously you need a Frisbee or other flying disc. Maybe you can borrow the dog's if the kids don't have one. Otherwise, try raiding your CD collection to create a super shiny discus - time to get rid of some of those embarrassing one-hit wonders!

Yes really! No, we're not suggesting everyone jumps in the garden pond, but there are a couple of ways to get the swimming pool experience on dry land. If you have a decent sized skateboard and the kids aren't too big, they can lie front first and propel themselves with their legs while doing the correct stroke with their arms. Or they can lie on top of a garden bench and you can judge them on their style. For authenticity, goggles, hats and fins are essential! If the weather turns warm, this would be great fun in a paddling pool. If you have a few people willing to take part - how about a bit of family synchronised swimming? Get some inspiration from these boys and their on-stage performance. It's great fun!


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