Soccer

KEY STAGE 1

BEGINNER

Movement

In soccer, movement and finding space is an integral part of the game. It is important that a player can find space so that they can receive a pass.

Introduction
Place several balls on the floor and other obstacles, such as cones. Ask the players to move around the hall and avoid the obstacles. Demonstrate different foot movements the players can make, for example side to side.

Soccer - beginner Key Stage 1

Game: Musical Balls
Give each player a ball and ask them to find a space with their ball held above their head in both hands. Explain to the players that when the music is not playing, they should be still with the ball above their head. When the music is playing, the ball should be placed on the ground and the players will move around the area, avoiding the balls and other players. When the music stops, the players will need to rush over to the ball and hold it above their head. Remove one ball each time the music stops. Therefore, one player will be out each round.

INTERMEDIATE

Dribbling Ball

An important skill in soccer is being able to move with the ball at your feet. This section targets this skill.

Introduction
It is important that the players are aware that the closer the ball is to them, the better the dribbling skill will be. Give the players a ball each and mark out an area using cones. Ask the players to move around the area, keeping the ball close to their feet. As the players get better at this, make the area smaller. Call out various instructions such as ‘stop’, ‘foot on the ball’, ‘sit on the ball’ etc.

Soccer - intermediate Key Stage 1

Game: Relay Race
Select teams of four players. Set out a number of cones for each team to run through. Place the cones at an appropriate distance apart so the players can weave in and out of the cones. Firstly, allow the players to race without a ball. Then allow the players to race through the cones with a ball. Encourage close control and, to increase the difficulty, increase the number of cones and the distance between each cone.

ADVANCED

Passing

Players have been using the skills to find space and also dribble with the ball. Now the players are ready to combine the skills and attempt passing to a teammate.

Soccer - advanced Key Stage 1

Game
Divide the group into teams. Use teams with only three or four players so that the players get plenty of touches of the ball. The game consists of a variation of the previous game with the cones. The difference is that another player or an adult will stand at end of the cones and ask the player to run through the cones then pass the ball to the adult at the end. The player will then need to receive the ball back and dribble back through the cones, giving it to the other player to have a turn. To make it more difficult, the other player or adult at the end will move further back to encourage a longer pass.

Make it inclusive!

Use a flat, hard playing surface.
Ensure the adult to player ratio is appropriate so that every player has a chance to be involved.
Divide players with difficulties evenly between teams.
Remind players that there is a mixture of abilities on the court and it is important not to run into each other.
Allow wheelchair users and those with difficulties and impairments more time.
Make sure that tackling is restricted to appropriate players and make a rule that others can only hold onto the ball for a certain length of time.
Ensure inclusion by introducing the rule that every player must touch the ball before the team can score.

Reduce the size of the pitch for players with mobility difficulties.
Widen the nets, if necessary.
If several wheelchair users are playing, they may need to use a bigger ball.
If only one wheelchair user is playing and a standard football is in use, allow this player to use their hands or a hockey style stick to control the ball.

Demonstrate the game using sign language, such as Makaton.
Pair up with a ‘hearing’ player or an adult who will guide them round the pitch.
Use a large countdown clock or visual sign to show that game time has started or stopped.
Hold up a sign to show the game has started/ended.
Use visual cues to indicate different events during the game, e.g. half time.

For players with minor visual impairments use a brightly coloured ball that contrasts with the playing surface.
Ensure that team bibs clearly contrast with each other.
Make sure that cones and equipment marking the boundaries of the playing area are brightly coloured and clearly contrast with the playing surface itself.
Use an audible ball (ball that makes a sound) with players who have a serious visual impairment.
Allow an adult or ‘seeing’ player to guide them around the pitch using directions or a hand on their shoulder.

Useful Links

Irish Football Association irishfa.com/taking-part/disability-football

Football Association of Ireland fai.ie/domestic/football-for-all/football-for-all-programme

KEY STAGE 2

BEGINNER

Movement and Dribbling

In soccer, it is important to be able to dribble with a ball and find a pass. This section focuses on both skills.

Introduction
It is important that the players are aware that the closer the ball is to them, the better the dribbling skill will be. Give the players a ball each and mark out an area using cones. Ask the players to move around the area, keeping the ball close to their feet. As the players get better at this, make the area smaller. Call out various instructions such as ‘stop’, ‘foot on the ball’, ‘sit on the ball’ etc.

Soccer - beginner Key Stage 2

Game: Passing in the Circle
Divide the group into two teams. One team will form a large circle and the other team will have a ball each in the circle created by the other team. The players with the ball in the circle must move around the circle and pass the ball to a player on the outside of the circle and receive it back. Emphasise the importance of calling the player’s name so they are ready to receive the pass.

INTERMEDIATE

Passing and Shooting

An important part of the game is to accurately pass the ball to another player or shoot the ball at a target, such as a net.

Introduction
Set out a square area of cones and a net to score in outside the area. Give the players a ball each and a number each. Ask one player to stand between the square of cones and the net. This player is there to receive a pass then lay the ball off. Ask the players to dribble around the area. When their number is called, they must go out, pass the ball to the player on the outside then receive it back to shoot.

Soccer - intermediate Key Stage 2

Game: Two vs. Two Passing and Shooting
Divide the players into teams of two. Ask half the teams to be attackers and half the teams to be defenders. The players who are attackers must pass to each other and make their way towards the net, eventually shooting into the net. The other team, who are defending, will start in the net then move out to try to stop the attacking team scoring. After each team has had a go then they will swap round.

ADVANCED

Game

Players have practised dribbling, passing, shooting and also tackling. They are now ready to compete in a small-sided game.

Soccer - advanced Key Stage 2

Game
Divide the group into teams of three or four players. This will allow the players will have more touches of the ball and more space in the area. It will also make it easier to pick a pass. Use an area of appropriate size for the football pitch, depending on the group’s ability. Mark out the box for the goalkeepers and make clear that only the goalkeepers can use their hands. Encourage the keepers to change so that everyone has a turn in nets. When the game starts, ensure that the players are passing and calling each other by name. Limit the number of touches certain players can have before passing. Ensure the time set for each half is suitable for the age and ability of the players.

Make it inclusive!

Use a flat, hard playing surface.
Ensure the adult to player ratio is appropriate so that every player has a chance to be involved.
Divide players with difficulties evenly between teams.
Remind players that there is a mixture of abilities on the court and it is important not to run into each other.
Allow wheelchair users and those with difficulties and impairments more time.
Make sure that tackling is restricted to appropriate players and make a rule that others can only hold onto the ball for a certain length of time.
Ensure inclusion by introducing the rule that every player must touch the ball before the team can score.

Reduce the size of the pitch for players with mobility difficulties.
Widen the nets, if necessary.
If several wheelchair users are playing, they may need to use a bigger ball.
If only one wheelchair user is playing and a standard football is in use, allow this player to use their hands or a hockey style stick to control the ball.

Demonstrate the game using sign language, such as Makaton.
Pair up with a ‘hearing’ player or an adult who will guide the player with hearing difficulties.
Use a large countdown clock or visual sign to show that game time has started or stopped.
Hold up a sign to show the game has started/ended.
Use visual cues to indicate different events during the game, e.g. half time.

For players with minor visual impairments use a brightly coloured ball that contrasts with the playing surface.
Ensure that team bibs clearly contrast with each other.
Make sure that cones and equipment marking the boundaries of the playing area are brightly coloured and clearly contrast with the playing surface itself.
Use an audible ball (ball that makes a sound) with players who have a serious visual impairment.
Allow an adult or ‘seeing’ player to guide them around the pitch using directions or a hand on their shoulder.

Useful Links

Irish Football Association irishfa.com/taking-part/disability-football

Football Association of Ireland fai.ie/domestic/football-for-all/football-for-all-programme

KEY STAGE 3

Game Development

Introduction
To develop the skills needed for a full 11-a-side game, it is important that the players have as much time on the ball as possible. To encourage this, use the tips below to ensure all players have maximum opportunities to develop the skills needed for the game and also to ensure that the game is inclusive.

Inclusion and Accessibility
While we would like all pupils to be included in Physical Education along with the others in their class, this is not always possible when it comes to playing the full version of the sport.

If a pupil has physical disabilities that mean they cannot safely take part in the game along with the other pupils in their class, then this pupil should be given the opportunity to take part in other physical activity. For example, a class could be split into groups, with some pupils practising the drills and others playing the game. The smaller group could practise the skills needed for the sport, or for the disabled version of the sport, alongside the rest of the class. These smaller groups would work in rotation, giving everyone an opportunity to play the sport and practise their skills.

Alternatively, some pupils may prefer to do a physical activity that they are particularly interested in, for example practising the drills needed for a sport they play outside of school.

Soccer - Key Stage 3

Tips

  • Divide the group into teams of only five players so that the players will have more touches of the ball and more space in the area.
  • Use an area of appropriate size for the football pitch, depending on the group’s ability.
  • Mark out the box for the goalkeepers and make clear that only the goalkeepers can use their hands.
  • Encourage the keepers to change so that everyone has a turn in nets.
  • When the game starts, ensure that the players are passing and calling each other by name.
  • Limit the number of touches certain players can have before passing.
  • If appropriate, make a rule that a certain player must receive the ball before their team can
    score.
  • Ensure the time set for each half is suitable for the age and ability of the players.

Make it inclusive!

Use a flat, hard playing surface.
Ensure the adult to player ratio is appropriate so that every player has a chance to be involved.
Divide players with difficulties evenly between teams.
Remind players that there is a mixture of abilities on the court and it is important not to run into each other.
Allow wheelchair users and those with difficulties and impairments more time.
Make sure that tackling is restricted to appropriate players and make a rule that others can only hold onto the ball for a certain length of time.
Ensure inclusion by introducing the rule that every player must touch the ball before the team can score.

Reduce the size of the pitch for players with mobility difficulties.
Widen the nets, if necessary.
If several wheelchair users are playing, they may need to use a bigger ball.
If only one wheelchair user is playing and a standard football is in use, allow this player to use their hands or a hockey style stick to control the ball.

Demonstrate the game using sign language, such as Makaton.
Pair up with a ‘hearing’ player or an adult who will guide the player with hearing difficulties.
Use a large countdown clock or visual sign to show that game time has started or stopped.
Hold up a sign to show the game has started/ended.
Use visual cues to indicate different events during the game, e.g. half time.

For players with minor visual impairments use a brightly coloured ball that contrasts with the playing surface.
Ensure that team bibs clearly contrast with each other.
Make sure that cones and equipment marking the boundaries of the playing area are brightly coloured and clearly contrast with the playing surface itself.
Use an audible ball (ball that makes a sound) with players who have a serious visual impairment.
Allow an adult or ‘seeing’ player to guide them around the pitch using directions or a hand on their shoulder.

Useful Links

Irish Football Association irishfa.com/taking-part/disability-football

Football Association of Ireland fai.ie/domestic/football-for-all/football-for-all-programme