Episode 15:

An Introduction to Sport and Exercise for People who have Autism (Part 2)

Published: January 2012: Updated September 2013, August 2017

Partners: Amanda Durrant

In this part 2 of this series we look more closely at one of the activities that Amanda Durrant has developed—Kick Football. Amanda produced another custom video for this episode—giving it a nice personal touch.

In this second part of a look at Amanda Durrant’s book An Introduction to Exercise and Sport for People Who Have Autism we’re going to look at an extract from the Kick Football section.

Simplicity rules here—as with most good things! Don’t underestimate the significance of what is happening here though. Simplicity is sometimes the most difficult thing to get right!

Before we take a look at Kick Football though, Amanda has produced another video for us, providing a handy tip based on her years of experience. Just click on the box below to view.

Kick Football

The Inclusion Club—Episode15 Kick Football Visual Aid


Kick Football is a game based on basic football skills for one or more players. It has few rules, no teams and one goal.

The game Kick Football starts at the end of the playing area without a goal. The ball is placed on a line or marker and all players can stand where they wish. Someone is chosen to start the game.

The referee calls “Ready, steady, kick!” The chosen player kicks the ball off the marker towards the goal end. All players can now try and kick the ball. When the ball enters the goal the referee calls “Goal! Stop the game!” Everyone goes back to the marker and the referee starts the game once again.

For Kick Football, you will need a clear space that will safely accommodate the number and size of children playing (indoors or outdoors), a marker to start the game from, a goal, and a football.

Some points to consider:

  • Complete a risk assessment before starting.
  • The floor, walls and ceiling should be clear of any obstructions or projectiles.
  • It might be beneficial to include siblings.
  • Some children might find it beneficial to see a picture sequence of the game first.
  • Some children might find it beneficial to see a picture sequence of the game first.
  • If some children do prefer visual cues, use an orange card for wait, a green card for go, and a red card for stop.
  • For those that would like to watch the game, place a bench at the sideline.
  • Use a ball the size of a football and that does not bounce too high.
  • Choose a ball that is not too bright in colour and is comfortable on impact.
  • Choose a ball that is the best size for the needs of the group.
  • It might be helpful for some players if you mark the ball with a spot the size of a large apple. Players can then aim to kick the coloured spot to commence the game.

Some Game Examples
Game One—Stages

Kick Football can be introduced in the following stages:

Stage One

Place a coloured mat on the ground in front of you. Now put a ball on a flat floor marker close to the mat, call out “Ready, steady, kick!” and kick the ball onto the coloured mat.

Stage Two

Place the coloured mat inside the floor of a goal. Place the ball on the marker close to the mat, and call out “Ready, steady, kick!” When the ball enters the goal, call out “Goal! STop the game!” Pick the ball up and replace on the marker ready to start again.

Stage Three

Continue to place the marker further and further away from the goal until you reach the desired distance you would like the game to start from. Give praise to players when there is skill shown or a goal is scored.

Stage Four

If kicking the ball in the right direction is proving difficult, as a practice, place two benches either side of the goal on their sides on the ground, and face them into each other to form a channel.

When the ball is kicked from the marker, the ball will travel more easily toward the goal. Players can take it in turns to try this.

Game Two—Stationary Goalkeeper

Placing a stationary goalkeeper in goal gives the players some predictability while practicing shooting for goal. You could use a block first. Next time, try placing a weighted inflatable punch bag in different positions within the goal instead.

Game Three—Moving Goalkeeper

Choose a member of staff as a goalkeeper. At first ask the goalkeeper to stand very still while the game is in play, even if goals are scored. Then you could try asking the goalkeeper to defend the goal with their feet only, then with just hands, then lastly with hands and feet.

Now ask or choose a player to have a turn at being in goal. You may need to mark out the area the goalkeeper is allowed to stand in.

There are seven more ‘Games’ described in the book for ‘Kick Football’ and a more detailed look at some of the basic skills involved in this activity.

I think the strength of Amanda’s book is its simplicity and clarity. It’s often easier to complicate things than it is to make things clear and simple.

But that’s not to say that there is not a lot of rich material here that is born out of experience and, I suspect, a lot of trial and error.

If this is an area of work that interests you then we strongly recommend Amanda’s book.

Thanks again Amanda for giving us permission to use extracts here for the benefit of Inclusion Club members.

Until next time out fellow Clubbers when we’ll be looking at our third Case Study of an organisation doing some truly remarkable work across Africa.

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About the author: Peter Downs

About the author: Peter Downs

Founding Director - The Inclusion Club

Peter is Founding Director of The Inclusion Club and Manager of Play by the Rules – a national initiative to promote safe, fair and inclusive sport. Peter has worked for over 25 years in the field of inclusive sport, disability sport and physical activity including 17 years managing the Australian Sports Commission’s Disability Sport Unit.  In 2013 Peter was fortunate enough to receive a Churchill Fellowship to study models of best practice in inclusive sport and physical activity.