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Football is a game that is played by two different teams of 11 players each on a rectangular field of 100 yard with goal lines and goal posts at either ends, the objectives of the players is to gain possession of the ball, passing it across the opponents and scoring a goal. The game of football is not a modern sport it has been played for the last 2,500 years and it is played worldwide. Football is of great importance not only to the players and their coaches but developments in the game have made it contribute greatly to the entire universe. The game for example in England contributes substantial percent in the gross domestic product. There are so many social cultural benefits that are associated with the game especially where it bring people of different races together to participate either is fans or as players. Football in schools gives the students an opportunity to unique and special experiences (Steiner, Quigley, Wang et al. 2005).
The two major strategies used in football are offensive and defensive. The strategy that a team chooses is mainly determined by the skills of their players. In offensive strategies the teams focus on the run. The players will be selected with the rushing skills in mind. This run oriented offense is usually referred to as ball control offense. However, other offensive teams may focus on the pass. The players need have good skills in catching passes. Passing teams are usually good at scoring quickly and coming from behind. Nevertheless, most team tries to strike a balance between passing and rushing the ball. Defensive strategy on the other hand puts more emphasis on their defense. The number of players here can range from three to five and the number of linebackers is also high. Such a team may employ the pas is blitz strategy where a player who would not rush a passer normally rushes the passer, for example a full back or a defensive midfielder (Atsatt, 1957).
Basics of football
Controlling the ball
The first step in teaching football is letting the students understand the sense of ball control which is not different from dribbling which is running while controlling the ball. This initial stage is what helps prepare the ball for touches to come. A player should bring the ball under possession first the dribbling should follow after the ball has been brought into control. The skill of receiving a pass and not passing or shooting first time is what is considered as ball control. Settling the ball basically attract pressure, a quick one touch may sometimes be more effective. Steiner, Quigley, Wang et al. (2005) argue that realizing how much the time the player has is vital in ball controlling to avoid being closed down or losing the ball. Controlling the ball normally allows the opponents to draw in. once the ball is controlled well it makes the following touches precise and easier. It also helps the player to correct any poor pass that he may receive. A good control of the ball also helps the players to break through easily. There several methods of controlling the ball these include, dead trap, bringing the ball along, steering away, faking and shielding away (Steiner, Quigley, Wang et al. 2005)
Dead trap; which is used when the player plans to stop the ball completely so that you can evaluate your options. However, this method is not recommended when there are opponents close to you. This method helps the player to stop and use very hard balls. Bringing the ball along; players use this skill when heading in a specific direction and the ball comes to them from the side. This skill is very important for all players because in every game all the players are constantly moving. Steering away, where the player is expected to evade threats and tackles from the opponents. The player must first scan the field and know where the opponents are and their direction to easily beat them (Bishop and Curtis 2001).
Turning with the ball: the player receives the ball facing the opposite direction and has to turn in order to shoot, pass or dribble. The most important aspect needed is time and space. Good anticipation is required the player should not turn with the opponents right behind him. Then there is the shielding away where the player uses the upper body and footing to brush of the pressure from the opponent. The player should ensure that the body is between the ball and the opponent. The foot that is further away from the opponent should control the ball while the other should be used to bar the opponent. Finally there is the faking method which requires space, the ball must be headed on an open area then the player instead of stopping it he lets it go and sprints to collect it.
Shields and Bredemeier (1995), state that there are several methods of ball control that a player may use these include, inside the foot where the supporting foot should be approximately 45-90 degrees to the path of the ball. Outside of the foot especially when the ball comes from the side, it is easier to control with the outside of the foot rather than turning. Sole of the foot normally used when dribbling. Instep is a technique used when the ball fall from a steep angle. Thigh technique is useful in football when you want to trap the ball; the player uses the thigh to cushion the ball. Players can also use the chest to control the ball this technique provides a large area for trapping or receiving the ball. Lastly the head can also be used to control the ball, where the player intercepts the path of the ball using his forehead.
Passing and receiving the ball.
Passing is the transfer of the ball from one player to the other. These could be either offensive or defensive and are normally executed in order to retain possession within the team. Passing the ball requires that both the passer and the receiver posses technical ability. Passing the ball helps the team mates to distribute the work load and responsibility. The receiver should make eye contact and show the intent that they want the ball. The player can either pass the ball to the teammate's feet or to an open space where the teammate can reach it. If a teammate is on the run then it is expected that the passer should pass the ball in front. The available time is crucial for a player to determine the pass to give (Larson, 2000).
According to Pellegrini and Smith (1998), when a player has no time or a situation where the opponents are drawing the one touch pass is the most effective. Players must decide what to do with the ball before they get it this will enable them save on time. Defensive passes are normally directed to areas where the opponents are less concentrated. These types of passes are majorly used to keep possession and relieve the pressure that the opponents may have mounted. There are then offensive passes where the ball is passed to the player who has the best chance of scoring.
There are different types of passes namely, passing to a player: which involves passing the ball right at the feet of the player; this is normally recommended when the teammates are close to one another. If a player is marked then the ball should be passed to the foot away from the opponent. The second type is passing into space best when the game is fast. The expected receiver must start the pass by creating a run into an open space. The pass must be directed accordingly to avoid losing possession (Pellegrini and Smith 1998).
Wall passes involve a one -two of the attacking players where each passes to the other who free himself into free space. These passes are good to help unbalance slower defenses. Turnover combinations are another good passes especially in a packed field where on player leaves the ball to another player. These passes are normally safe because the ball remains between two teammates facing each other. These may not only help confusing the opposing defenders but also the visibility of their goalkeeper. Lastly there is the piercing or tunnel passing which disorganize the opponents. For these passes to work well the ball has to be horizontally centered in front of the opposing team (Larson, 2000).
Running the ball
According to Miller, Bredemeier and Shield (1997), moving the ball creatively usually opens up spaces for the teammates; this involves the player who has the ball to make the ball do the running. This however has to be positional, for example one of the strikers could sit close to the midfielders while the others stretch the defense. With this kind of formation the attackers can check the ball and cut inside if he does not receive the ball. The strikers need to check in and out exchange the positions as they run the ball. When one forward checks the ball the other may sprint forward to give the teammate support (Blatchford, Baines and Pellegrini 2003)
Midfielders also should be effective in running the ball, for example if the opponents use the man marking techniques then they can decide to run the ball into the space where they want the ball away from the opponents. The midfielders can walk away a few yards and then dart back to the ball. The forward should strike the ball approximately six yard ahead, when doing this the defender should make sure that there are no defenders in front of him. If a defender comes the players' way then the forward should kick the ball and then run faster than the defender to regain the ball (Miller, Bredemeier and Shield 1997).
Serving the ball on the goal
After all the ball control, passing, running and dribbling the ultimate is goal scoring. As such the team must sharpen its shooting skills to win. Serving the ball on goal is affected by several factors ranging from the part of the foot a player shoots with, posture and the angle of the players foot. At this stage the forward should focus the body and concentration on the ball. The eyes should be on the field, and learn to spot available shooting chances (Martens, 1987).
Martens (1987), argues that the strikers should learn to bend the ball around the fullback and into the corner of the net. The attacker should use the fullback to blur the goalkeeper from seeing the ball and where the striker is sending it. The other techniques that should be used by the forward is taking advantage of deflections, in such a situation the player should save the shot and the deflection and serve the ball on goal on the opposite side from which the goalkeeper dives. In other situations the player only needs to just redirect a pass or a shot into the goal with the inside of their foot, these situations do not call for power but skills.
Hit the ball on the head
Heading the ball in football is very crucial in winning the aerial balls. Players need good heading skills especially at the boxes. Those with such skills always score during the corner kicks. If a team has good heading skills then they can use the long ball sending them to the opponents' penalty area. There are several heading techniques that players can employ these include;
The flick header; this gives the player the chance to play the ball in any direction of his head. To effectively succeed the player should use this technique at the front of the near post when the ball is served from the wings. This technique makes it very hard for the goalkeeper to grip the ball (Fizel and Bennett 1989).
Diving header; in this type of header the player must propel the body in the path of the ball. The arms should be stretched to prevent the player from landing on the ground.
Glancing header; in this the player should turn his head in the direction he aims to score. The motion will direct the oncoming ball. This technique provides versatility and cover up in the air. This skill is very important in front of the goal when the player want to direct the ball past the goalkeeper.
Standard header; this skills requires that the player to hit the ball with power. The player should arch his back and swing the head forward. In order to perfectly execute this task the shoulders should be leveled and perpendicular to where the player aims the ball.
Ways to implement the teaching strategies in school football
Understanding the basics of football is the key to teaching football in schools. The tutors should understand the fundamental skills in football. They should then devise ways of teaching the skills to the students. Tutors must realize that recent technological advancement has its own merit and demerit in their profession. Those willing to employ technology in their work will find it easy and enjoyable. The conservatives will have much difficulty because most of their classes will bore the students and students may take time to understand some concepts. There are several strategies that the tutors can employ in explaining the skill.
Use of video to explain the skill
It has been noted that when teachers use instructional video the students keep more information, are enthusiastic about the topic and understand concepts more easily. Teaching football in school will often require the teacher to demonstrate some skills. In most cases these teachers lack the capacity to demonstrate such skills. Use of video would be of great help to demonstrate such skills. Using video in classroom will make the students make connection with the topic of football and discover the skills especially from the expertise. This method will make the students understand the skills and make them curious to try out the skill. Use of video can be used to demonstrate concepts through animated 3 dimension images. The skills that cannot be demonstrated in class will be shown and taught with ease. The video in some cases are interactive and this generates more interest from the learners. This an effective way to improving literacy and very essential where the tutor teaches something that the students have no clue about
Using the waite board to demonstrate the skill
Tutors can also use the white board to teach football in schools. The tutors should first plan what they want to teach and draft an outline. According to Cohen and Carver (1970), the white board can be a good plat form on which the teacher can illustrate the fundamentals of football. Illustrations on how to pass or head the ball can be done on the board. The board is also a good method of teaching in that the students connects quickly with the illustrations. Some skills may be better illustrated on the board than having practical illustrations especially if the teacher cannot play. This method gives the students room to participate in classroom demonstrations. The students are thus likely to learn the skill faster. The students are also in a better position to partner with the teacher. The teacher on the other hand is in a position to bond well with the students (Ramsden, 1992).
A practical example provided by the teacher to explain the skill
A practical presentation by the teacher in the classroom is proved to be effective in disseminating and helping the students understand critical concepts. This instructional method engages the students in discussion about the skill. Through this method the student can learn critical concepts in football and learn the challenging aspect of the skill. The teacher should research adequately in advance. This method encourages cooperative learning and stimulates critical thinking (Blatchford and Sumner 1998)
Choosing one of the students for discerning application of the skill
In this strategy it calls for both critical observation and application of the skill. The student will be expected to observe teachers demonstrations and video clips and then apply what they have learnt about the skill. Effective teaching does not take its effect on students for granted. This method recognizes the relationship between teaching and learning as relative and uncertain. Ramsden (1992) argue that this method is open for change and as such it encourages learning from students. Through this method the teacher can see what effect the training has on the students. How they are learning the skill and identify the areas of improvement. Good teachers should make learning tasks suitable to the student's level of understanding. They should also be aware of the uniqueness of individual learners and avoid the lure to inflict mass production standards that treat all learners as if they were exactly the same. It is important to stress that we know that students who experience teaching of the kind that allows control by the learner not only learn better, but that they enjoy learning more
Application of the collective request for the skill
Ramsden (1992) argues that this technique involves the participation of the students in the learning process. This not only makes the learning interesting but also showcases the students' abilities. However, it is important to notice that some students may be better than others. The method initiates a collaborative learning environment where students work as groups. The students work together to achieve a common goal. This learning strategy stresses the importance of faculty and student involvement in the learning process
Correct errors for students' when you apply the skill to reach perfection
This strategy calls for appropriate assessment and feedback. Various evaluation techniques are used giving the students a chance to show their masterly of the field of study. This is opposed to the traditional methods that encouraged the students to just memorize. This method not only recognizes but also appreciates the power of feedback to motivate the students to put more effort to learn.
Use of skills in school games
This will lead to active learning and applications of the skills that the students have learnt in class. According to Ramsden (1992), this strategy helps the student reflect the content of the course through solving problems. This method will help the student take various roles. For example in our case the students may for full football team, some students will take the defensive position while others may take offensive positions. This will help the students apply what they are learning and is indeed the highest level of learning taxonomy (Brown and Brown 1990).
In conclusion this paper has looked at the importance of football in general. Having identified the benefit of this game to the individuals and the society as a whole, is important to emphasize on the need to nature the talent right from the beginning. It is therefore important to teach football in schools. Football is a game that is played by people at their prime years who retire at an early age. The young should then be taught the skill as the game has become a big business all over the world. Basics of the game have been explained in details to help the tutors who teach football in schools.
Several ways to put into practice the teaching strategies in schools have been looked at. It is important that tutors who are responsible for teaching football in schools know these strategies. This will help them to apply them when and as required. From these strategies it has been noted that the classroom should change from being teacher oriented students oriented. The benefits of encouraging students' participation in the classroom have been mentioned. Teachers should recognize that some of these strategies are more effective in some situations than in others. It is then important for the teachers to know which strategy to use when and where (Holtz, 1998)
The elemental importance of these teaching strategies is to make it easier to execute teaching techniques and the methods in football. The students are more responsible for their learning and also make the learning process easier. The primary motive is to create learning environments that are interactive, integrate technology where applicable and use collaborative learning strategies where necessary.