Every Sport for Everyone
Key Stage 1
Beginner - Movement
In Gaelic football, movement and finding space are integral parts of the game. It is important a player can find space so that they can receive a pass and avoid a tackle.
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.
Game: Tidy the Fruit Factory
Scatter four different colours of beanbag over the area. Place four buckets or trays (matching the colour of the beanbags) in the four corners. Explain to the group that they are workers in the fruit factory and it is a mess and needs tidied. Explain that the yellow beanbags are bananas and need to go in the banana or yellow bucket etc. Then explain that when the whistle blows, the players must run around the area and collect one piece of fruit at a time and place it in the correct bucket. When the floor has been cleared, the activity is over.
Intermediate - Ball Handling
An important skill in Gaelic football is being able to move with the ball in your hands while being able to bounce or toe tap the ball. This section targets the skill of bouncing.
Give each player a ball and mark out an area for them to move within. Explain to the players that they must bounce the ball every time you blow the whistle or hold up a cone. Ask the players to do this activity while walking, jogging, running, moving backwards etc.
Game: Hand Passing
Demonstrate to the players what a hand pass is. Allow the players to have a go at this in pairs a small distance apart. Separate the players into two lines facing one another. Set out coloured cones to show the players where their line should be when you hold up a colour. For example, place green cones closer together and when you hold up a green cone then the players will be in line with the green cone on their side. The players must practise hand passing between each other, moving closer or further away from each other depending on the colour of cone you are holding up.
Advanced - Passing
Players have been using the skills to move with the ball and pass the ball using a hand pass. Now the players are ready to combine the skills and attempt a game using these skills only (no toe tapping or shooting with their foot).
Game: Bouncing Battle
Select teams of four players. Set out a rectangular area with a football or Gaelic football net or a rectangular board at each end. Explain to the players that when they are moving with the ball, they must bounce the ball every four steps. Show the players a hand pass and explain that this is how to pass in Gaelic football (if players have difficulty with this, then allow throwing initially). One team will be scoring in one net and the other towards the other net. The players must move while bouncing the ball and pass to their teammates until they reach the net or board. Here they must hand pass it off the board or into the net to score.
Key Stage 2
Beginner - Bouncing and Toe Tapping
In Gaelic football, it is important that players are able to move with the ball by bouncing or toe tapping. This section focuses on both.
It is important that the players are aware of what a toe tap is.
Demonstrate to the players and give them tips on how this can be done properly. For example, use the hand at your kicking side to drop the ball to your foot. Allow the players to practise this technique in a marked out area.
Game: Whistle or Clap
Demonstrate to the players how to lift the ball from the ground in Gaelic football. Give each player a ball and mark out an area for them to move within. Explain to the players that they must bounce the ball every time you blow the whistle and toe tap the ball every time you clap your hands. When you shout 'stop', the players must place the ball on the ground. When you shout 'go', the players must lift the ball as they were shown and continue. Ask players to do this activity while walking, jogging, running, moving backwards etc.
Intermediate - Passing and Kicking
An important part of the game is to accurately pass the ball to another player, then kick the ball to score a point or a goal.
Separate the players into pairs in a large marked out area. Each pair will have a ball between two. Set out coloured cones to show the players where they should be when you hold up a colour (as in the Key Stage 1 ball handling drill). Then when you shout 'hand pass' or 'kick', the player must pass the ball to their partner.
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 (either hand passing or kicking) and make their way towards the net, eventually shooting into the net or kicking over for a point. The other team, who are defending, will start in the net then move out to attempt to stop the attacking team scoring. Swap the teams around after each team has had a go.
Advanced - Game
Players have practised moving with the ball, passing, shooting and also tackling. They are now ready to compete in a small-sided game.
Game: Gaelic Football
Divide the group into teams of three or four players. This will allow the players to 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 Gaelic football pitch, depending on the group’s ability. Encourage the keepers to change so that everyone has a turn in nets. When the game starts, ensure that the players are passing by hand passing or with their feet. If players are having difficulty with bouncing or toe tapping the ball, then perhaps allow the players to only do one or the other until they become more confident. The same applies for passing, if players are having difficulty with passing then allow them to throw the ball initially. If some players are more able, then limit the number of touches these players can have before passing. Ensure the time set for each half is suitable for the age and ability of the players.
Key Stage 3
To develop the skills needed for a full 15-a-side game, it is important that the players have as much time on the ball as possible. In Gaelic football, the rules about lifting the ball, moving with the ball and passing the ball can be complex and difficult for some players to pick up initially. Relaxing some of the rules or introducing them gradually can help players develop confidence and allow them more time on the ball.
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.
- Divide the group into teams of five or six so that the players will have more touches of them ball and more space in the area. Then gradually increase the size of the pitch and the number of players in each team.
- Use an area of appropriate size for the Gaelic football pitch, depending on the group’s ability.
- Encourage the keepers to change so that everyone has a turn in nets.
- Limit the number of touches certain players can have before passing.
- Allow players more steps before calling a travel.
- Ensure the time set for each half is suitable for the age and ability of the players.
- If players are having difficulty with some aspects of the game, call a 'timeout' and give them a demonstration
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.
- Ensure inclusion by introducing a rule that every player must receive 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.
- Allow a wheelchair user to throw a ball instead of hand passing.
- Place players who are at a similar level together for hand passing.
- Instead of toe tapping or bouncing, allow a wheelchair user to move for a certain length of time before passing or shooting.
Hard of Hearing or Deaf
- Demonstrate the game using a sign language familiar to the player.
- Use a visual sign to show that game time has started or stopped, e.g. a flag or "time out" sign.
Sight Impaired or Blind
- 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.
- Hand the ball to a player with a visual impairment and allow them to move with the ball for a certain length of time before they pass.
- Allow an adult or ‘seeing’ player to guide them around the pitch using directions or a hand on their shoulder.