The non-statutory examples of competitive games given by the NC are: badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rounders and tennis Presumably there is also no need to have year 4 hit a shuttlecock, kick a football, hit a cricket ball, etc either? If year 4s are to: play competitive games, modified where appropriate and apply basic principles suitable for attacking and defending then I'd say the use of a ball is pretty essential! Plastic sticks and plastic/tennis balls are perfectly fine for year 4s. for hockey. Similarly smaller bats, possibly plastic and soft balls are perfectly fine for cricket. Lower hoops are perfectly fine for netball and basketball. Tennis balls are fine for rounders. Etc, etc. We are teaching with the NC aims of: develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities are physically active for sustained periods of time engage in competitive sports and activities lead healthy, active lives. NOT coach to Olympic standard by the time they leave year 6!