M - The Game

Running the Game

The game is divided into four, five-minute periods with a one-minute water break at the quarters and a 3-minute break at halftime.  There are no goal-tenders.  Play 3v3 or 4v4 depending on the number of players available.  Encourage scoring.  Use your registered volunteer parents by asking them to watch the touch lines, goal lines and throw-ins.  Make sure they understand how to judge a ball in or out.  This is crucial to involving the whole family, a key objective in our community development.  This will also help toward developing interest in our parents to become referees next year.  Do not keep score.  Praise good behavior, passing, talking to team mates, skills accomplished from training, good attitude, knowing which way the goal is.  Keep direction to a minimum, let the players figure it out and praise good choices.    

Player Substitutions:
Player substitutions may occur at each of the 3 breaks.  Ensure each player is in at least 3 of the 4 quarters.

The Start of Play:
To start the first and second halves, and following each goal, play is started or restarted with a kick-off in the center of the field. A coin toss is used to determine which group kicks off to start the game and the other group kicks off to start the second half. Following a goal, the group scored upon kicks off.

The Kick-off:
The kick-off is taken from the center of the field with each group in their own half and the group not kicking off at least 5 yards from the ball. Do not insist the opponent be a minimum of precisely 5 yards from the ball as this is just a guide to give the kicker room to kick the ball without it immediately hitting an opponent. Remember, let them play and do not interfere for technicalities.

Ball In and Out of Play:
The ball is out of play when it completely crosses the touch line (side line) or goal line (end line) either on the ground or in the air. In Kinder games, the game supervisors for the week will determine when the ball is out of play. When the ball goes out of play in Kinder games across the touch line (side lines) or the goal lines (end lines) without a goal being scored, a throw-in is awarded at the point it crossed the line.

The throw-in is awarded to the team that didn’t touch the ball last. Whether the throw-in is properly taken or not, let it go…teach proper technique later, during the training. Again, let them play with minimum interruption. Keep the game moving and fun.

Method of Scoring:
A goal is awarded when the ball completely crosses the goal line into the goal. Goals should be enthusiastically celebrated by everyone. In Kinder games, goals are not recorded to determine who wins as everyone is a winner. 

Hand Ball - A hand ball infraction occurs when a player handles the ball deliberately.  The “handing the ball” includes the entire arm up to the top of the shoulder.  Instinctive, self-protective reactions are not penalized at this young age.  Accidental contact (ball striking hand or arm with no intent to control the ball by the player) is not an offense and should not be penalized.

Fouls and Other Stoppages:
Deliberate fouling is rare in Kinder games. Kicking, tripping, handling the ball and dangerous play occur accidentally. There should be few fouls, if any. If a player is “not playing well with others”, or if play must be stopped for any other reason (injury, substitution, confusion, or to watch a passing train, butterfly or frog), refocus the players and begin with a free kick or as may be appropriate.  Stoppages must not become a lengthy ceremony.

Free Kick:
Play may have to be stopped occasionally to “sort things out” in Kinder games. When this is necessary, correct the situation and then restart with a free kick for the deserving team. The opposing group should be at least 5 yards from the ball. All free kicks in Kinder games are direct free kicks which means, if the player is lucky, a goal can be scored directly from the kick without the ball having to be touched or played by another player on the field.

Hints: - remember to take water breaks every 5 minutes.  Get the kids used to hustling to take a drink and get back into position!  Encourage the kids to run to the touchline at center field for their parents to hand them a drink, and not leave the field.
  • Involve the parents often, be creative
  • If everyone is restless, get everyone moving
  • Be flexible, maybe today you need to do things in a different order
  • If in doubt about a water break, have a water break