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Follow the Leader

(Dribbling, Changes of direction, Stopping)
Comment:
This is both a good warm-up game and a good game to let kids feel important by leading an activity.

Teaches:
Dribbling, bottom of the foot skill to stop.

Setup:
This game is easy to set up. Every player starts with their ball at their feet.

The Game:
Call out “Follow (player’s name)”. That player starts to dribble anywhere he or she wants to go, turning, slow or fast, and everyone has to follow them. It won’t actually look like a neat little line, I have never seen that. You may have to be the leader first a couple of times before they understand what to do.
After a while, blow your whistle and call out “freeze!”, and everyone has to stop the ball by placing their foot on top of the ball, like in “Hickory Dickory Dock”. This is my technique for encouraging them to maintain control all of the time. The players that have their ball under control will stop quickly. The ones that are not under control will take much longer to stop, and they instantly see it. I encourage them that if they “keep their ball close, like a puppy on a lease”, they will be able to stop quicker next time. The players don’t want to be the last one to stop on the “freeze” call, so this teaches them to keep their ball close.
Without this “freeze” step, they tend to do a lot of “kick and chase”, not in control. Using this freeze step is a great way of teaching control dribbling that some other games do not teach as well. This is also true because slow and easy is the emphasis here as opposed to a race or a competition.
After the “freeze”, I call out another player’s name to follow, and we continue until everyone has had a chance to be the leader.

Time:
Play long enough to let everyone be the leader for 30 -45 seconds.

Comments:
This game is a good warm up, slow and easy, control dribbling. Kids like it because they get a turn at being the leader.

Variations:
“School bus” where one player “drives” the bus and everyone else is a student on the bus. Each gets a turn driving the team around the field. A faster (U4 & U6) variation is Fire Engine where I take 3 or 4 players and they drive slow until I yell “FIRE” and then they have to go fast to where I am.