In creative football the rules are changed three times in the course of the football match. Participants therefore have to learn to cooperate closely and work together in order to play the game. This activity enables participants to gain experience of overcoming challenges together and working as a team.
Make sure you read the instructions below and decide on the three rules you are going to use, before you introduce the activity.
Here are some examples of the rules you could use:
• Each player may touch the ball only once, then it has to be passed to another player, i.e. one touch per player.
• Players can only score goals with a certain part of the body (for example, with the head). Goals scored with other parts of the body do not count.
• All the players from a team have to touch the ball at least one time before a goal can be scored.
• Only defenders can score goals.
• Only boys above/below a certain age can score goals.
• Everyone plays in pairs. Each player has a partner and the pairs must hold hands.
Choose rules that are appropriate to the context where you are working and make sure that the group understands the rules.
State what the consequences will be if a rule is not followed. For example, if a team commits a foul, then the opposing team gets the ball. If there are lots of fouls, you can introduce more severe consequences after a certain number of fouls, such as:
• 10 push-ups for the entire team.
• A penalty kick is given to the opposing team.
• The person who has committed the foul is out until the next goal is scored.
• The entire team has to run from one end of the field to the other.
If there are a lot of participants, make sure they all get equal playing time, either by substituting often, or by dividing the group into smaller teams that take turns to play.
1. Ask the participants to stand in a circle and introduce the aim of the activity by saying:
“Today we are going to play football. However, the rules in this game are different from the rules we normally follow when playing football. Two teams will play against each other, and both teams will have to follow the rules outlined for this game. When we have finished playing, we will meet again for some feedback.”
2. Explain that the game will last 30 minutes and that the rules will change three times during these 30 minutes, so the players must pay attention when the rules changes. Explain what the consequences will be if the players do not follow the rules.
3. Divide the group into two or more teams, depending on how many participants there are. Ask each team to choose a team captain.
4. Now explain the first rule of the game, and ask the two team-captains to go to the centre of the field and start the game.
5. Stop the game twice during the 30 minutes to change the rules. Make sure everyone understands what the new rule is. If a rule is not followed, stop the game and enforce the consequence of breaking the rule.
6. If you want to make the game even more challenging, you can add an element of unfairness in your refereeing, for example, by constantly giving fouls to people wearing red shirts. If you choose to this, it is important to follow this up after the game. You can discuss how the unfair refereeing affected the participants, especially highlighting the aspects of how to cope with unfairness and injustice.
7. End the game after 30 minutes.
8. When the players have rested a little, ask them to form a circle again and say:
“Sport can have a positive impact in people’s lives. It is a good way of coping with stress. It also teaches us how to interact and work with others, follow rules and how to cope with challenges and feelings that we may experience during the game.”
9. Ask the participants to reflect on the game and give their feedback, using the following questions to guide the discussion:
• How did you find the game? What was easy and what was not so easy?
• What was it like when the rules changed?
• How did you feel about the refereeing? Was the referee fair? What do you normally do when you or someone else is not treated fairly?
• What have you learned about yourself from this game?
• How is this game linked to other parts of your life? What lessons can you use in other aspects of your life from this game?
10. End the activity by thanking the participants for playing so well, and saying:
“Creative football makes teamwork stronger. To win the game the rules had to be followed. Some of the rules made the game difficult for some players at certain points in the game. But you realized that if you worked as a team, you could help one another. As the rules changed, you had to pay attention and be alert. This is similar to everyday life experiences, where we have to learn to adapt to changes all the time.”