Importance of making stations:
I have heard some coaches don't like stations becuase they want to work with one student at a time to make sure they are doing things correctly. As far as the rest of the students is concern, they are standing in line watching and listening (in which you hope they are). I have found in this case that kids are getting bored and focus is lost on the task. Therefore, the coach becomes a babysitter. By all means the kids want to learn and have fun!
In the past of my coaching career, I have learned the importance of making stations to help keep the kids productive and moving. All at the same time, I learned to make lesson plans before class started so the class can run smoothly. Nothing more irritates me to set up and discussing a plan during class time wasting 5 minutes of the student's time.
Time is also important here in this case. You wouldn’t want to have 10 students standing in line waiting for their turn when the event last for 15 minutes. Let say a student got three tries per turn and you spend about one minute per student. That leaves the last student waiting for ten minutes to get a turn. Most of the students in the class will get at least one turn and three tries. Now let just imagine how much a student can learn in ten minutes if you had stations!
How to make stations:
Depending on your gym class program and how the gym is set up, you may need to start being very creative making stations so the students are getting more turns. Everyone is different when it comes to making stations. Stations can include a drill for a skill, practicing the skill they have mastered on their own, conditioning, flexibility, reviewing a skill from the previous class, and working on skills with a coach (coach’s station).
Over the years of coaching, I have found that this rule of thumb in making stations has worked for me.
1. Have at least 2-3 kids per station.
2. Have at least 3-6 stations.
3. Stations should last about 30-45 seconds (this is about 3 tries per turn at the coach's station). This allow the kids to not to get bored and/or getting out of focus on the task. In this case if you happen to give a long feedback then you may need to keep the feedback short (that is another topic coming soon).
4. Stations should be appropriate based on level ability.
5. Always make sure you can see all of the stations. You should always have your back facing the wall. If you can’t see all of the stations then either adjust the stations or adjust yourself (a really good reason to learn to spot on both sides).
BEST OF LUCK!