Contact sports such as football can be a challenge for schools to manage.
When children play on the weekends for a club, they are supported by a team of adults including coaches, umpires, runners and parents. Even then, the game can get heated, rough tackles and bumps occur or harsh comments said between players. This is where the adults step in and help children to manage these problems.
In our school setting, we have a single yard duty teacher and they actively move around. They can’t be on the oval the entire play period.
For this reason (not just because I’m the fun police!) all children regardless of age or experience must follow some extra yard rules if they want to play football.
- at school we use the Under 8 modified rules for all students which means NO TACKLING, bumps are okay but they can not be aggressive
- spoils using a closed fist are not allowed in case the fist contacts an opponents head rather than the ball
- slinging players to the ground or rough play like tripping or pushing is not acceptable
Our normal yard rules also apply such as being fair to everyone, using friendly faces and friendly voices and demonstrating our school values.
Even with these guidelines, there will still be conflicts from time to time. If this happens, we will work through these problems with children using a restorative approach where rebuilding the relationships is the end goal.
Most children are able to manage their play and follow the guidelines with only an occasional slip up (no one is perfect after all!) We want kids to be successful so if they do mess it up, we work with them to change behaviours and get back on the field. Persistently ignoring the rules may mean that individuals are not allowed to play for a period of time. This could be days or several weeks depending on the behaviour.
As I say to the kids…This is meant to be fun. If you are not getting any joy from this, you need to find something else to do with your play time.