NEW BALL METHOD FOR U5 AND U6 TEAMS
- Whenever a ball goes OUT OF PLAY or a GOAL IS SCORED, a coach announces "New Ball!" and rolls another ball into play.
- NO KICK OFFS after a Goal!
- NO KICK-INS!
- NO GOAL KICKS!
- NO CORNER KICKS!
- There is no referee. The coaches are responsible for controlling the game
- Substitutions are done "on the fly" like hockey. When a player gets tired or the coach wants to make a substitution, the player runs off the field and a new player runs on. No stoppage.
- U5/U6 games consist of four, (8)-minute quarters, with a (2) minute break between quarters, and a (5) minute break at the half.
Tips for Success:
- Several balls are required for this method. Use a regular "kick-off" to start each half.
- The two coaches assign themselves each to half of the field and carry one or two balls in their arms.
- If the ball goes slightly out of play, but the player dribbles the ball back in, that’s ok - let them play on!
- The ‘new ball’ should be rolled to neutral space or toward the disadvantaged team.
- Coaches control the pace of the game. You may need to pause for a few seconds before distributing a new ball, especially after a goal. Give the players several seconds to re-set and rest after a goal. Roll the new ball in near the center of the field toward the team that was scored against.
- DO NOT bounce the ‘new ball’ as it is difficult for these players to judge a bouncing ball at this age
- Favor the team on the wrong end of a one sided game
- Favor individual players who are not becoming involved in the game
- Have parents retrieve lost balls and return them to the coach who just rolled the new ball in so he/she now has 2 balls once more!
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Why use the New Ball Method?
- More touches on the ball: This method doubled or tripled the number of touches by each player in a study conducted in 2001/2002 by the Richmond Hill SA in Georgia. More touches means faster skill development and increased enjoyment of the game.
- More playing time: Indiana Youth Soccer studied the effect of the New Ball Method and found that in 7 minute quarter, the ball was in play for 4 minutes using traditional rules, and about 6 minutes and 30 seconds using the New Ball Method
- This method will speed up the game, produce more goals and more excitement, while at the same time de-emphasizing the importance of scoring and emphasizing play and fun.
- This method can be used to get non-assertive players involved by rolling the new ball to those players; and can be used to even the playing field in a lopsided game. At this age, score is not kept, there is no win/loss record, and the emphasis is on playing, having fun and sportsmanship, not winning.
- Unlike at the higher levels, at this age, goal kicks, corner kicks, and kick-ins do not provide the tactical advantage for the kicking team, and can often be a disadvantage. Consequently, re-starts substantially slow the game with no benefit to the player or spectator.
- The New Ball Method has proven to be a great success with clubs around the country that have adopted it.
- Since there is no referee who calls the fouls?
- Fouls at this age are almost always innocent, and result from lack of coordination rather than malicious intent, so fouls should almost never be called--a player can be substituted and instructed on the rules of play when that player comes off the field.
- Players are rarely hurt (other than hurt feelings) by a foul at this age, and since score is not kept and records are not important, any tactical advantage obtained by a foul is meaningless, and can be corrected with the next "new ball."
- If necessary, one coach can be assigned to each half of the game to call only the most blatant fouls.
- Who keeps time?
- The coaches keep time (alternating quarters), or a volunteer parent can keep time.
- Time limits must be adhered to in order to prevent delays of all the games later that day.
- Coaches should familiarize themselves with the rules of play for this age group
- Note that the rules of play are much simpler with the New Ball Method