When teaching P.E. adapting equipment for the skill level of your class is essential. to successfully learning the skills being taught. I teach PK-4th grade and many of my students are having their first experience with many sports in my class. Some might have seen volleyball at a summer BBQ but for the most part many have never actually participated in a real game. Furthermore, when I mention things like setting and bumping they have no idea what I'm talking about.
When beginning any unit think about how you can modify or adapt equipment for student success. Lower the nets or basket, use a bigger ball or a smaller ball or a softer ball, or whatever kind of ball will help students learn. Sometimes this is easy to do and other times you need to identify a situation where someone is struggling and then adapt the equipment or rules. When I began teaching I had no prior knowledge to fall back on. I taught based on my personal experiences as a child. It took a few years to gain a better perspective of how to teach a 5 year old throw and how to teach a 10 year old to throw. Not to mention you might have one child in class who is blind, one who is in a wheelchair, two that speak no english, one that doesn't speak at all, and the rest have about one minute of focus time before they need to move.
That brings me to my next point. Not only must you adapt equipment but you must be able to breakdown the progression of the skills that you are teaching into 3-4 steps with as simple language as possible. Try to keep the teaching cues for your skills to one or two words. For example in volleyball I might use "Knees Bent", "Arms Straight", "Hands Flat Surface", "Body Towards Target" This isn't easy but it can be done. I also make sure to connect a nonverbal movement with the teaching cue. Since some students might be slow verbal processors if you say make a diamond and show a diamond this will help more students connect with what you are teaching. Below is an example of how to breakdown the skill of Setting in Volleyball into several key teaching cues.
And here is another breakdown for the skill of bumping in volleyball.
I have more teaching skills in my Handout section and PE Fundamental Skills Section. Remember it's all about repetitions. I repeat my teaching cues over and over again to help students remember each of the parts in the skill. When throwing sometimes all I have to say is "Sideways to the Target" or position myself sideways, and the thrower will know exactly what I'm talking about. I've also found that this is super helpful when doing self-assessment. Students can practice a skill and have a friend record them with the Ipad. Then when watching themselves use the above rubric to breakdown their own performance.