Picking up the pace

31st March 2006 at 01:00
Leapfrogs Lesson Plans

By Jim Hall

pound;16.99 each (pound;15.29 online)

Tel: 020 7758 0200

www.acblack.com

Get Physical

By Lois Addy

pound;22.99

Tel: 0845 120476

www.ldalearning.com

How to coach a soccer team

By Tony Carr

pound;12.99

Tel: 020 7531 8400

www.hamlyn.co.uk

Jim Hall's Leapfrogs Lesson Plans series can help non-specialist primary teachers organise and deliver the gymnastics, games and dance parts of their PE curriculum more effectively. The author, a freelance adviser and former PE inspector, has produced a book for each year group from foundation to Year 6, each containing photocopiable lesson plans and teacher notes. The lesson plans can form the basis of a whole-school scheme of work, although clearer advice on how to meet the needs of a range of abilities and a few illustrations would be helpful.

The individual activities could also easily be used in conjunction with other resources, such the Youth Sport Trust's TOPS cards or the England and Wales Cricket Board's Howzat! In line with current thinking, the author also promotes the social, emotional and intellectual benefits for children of being involved in high-quality physical activity, and recognises that such activity needs to be fast-paced and continuous if it is to be conducted outdoors during winter.

At foundation stage, the Leapfrogs lessons focus on preparation for the future - establishing routines, teaching practices and developing underlying skills. At key stage 1, these are consolidated as children become more familiar with the subject, and inKS2 children are encouraged to link together aspects of their previous learning. In line with national curriculum requirements, the development of control, consistency and an increasing awareness of performance and progress are at the centre of Jim Hall's KS2 programmes. As they get older, the children are given more opportunities to observe, evaluate and design their own sequences and activities.

Lois Addy is a pediatric occupational therapist who has written extensively on the subject of helping children with perceptual and motor difficulties.

Devised in conjunction with teachers and therapists who have used the programme, Get Physical, her latest book, follows an inclusive approach to the development of physical competencies at KS1. Suitable for use with all children, the activities are flexible enough to allow the creative teacher to adapt them for specific needs, while at the same time providing the less-confident practitioner with a solid resource for more prescriptive teaching. The activities are presented as a series of easy to follow and clearly illustrated lesson plans.

Get Physical is based on the national curriculum programmes of study for games and gymnastics. It takes a two-tier approach, focusing on the underlying generic movements and competencies necessary to develop a range of specific skills, while also advising teachers on how to help children break down and understand more complex discrete techniques.

Engaging names, such as pigs can fly, Indian snake charmer and moon ball, are given to activities which have a clear purpose, a series of focused lesson objectives and advice on how to organise, prepare and deliver activities. There is also an additional section on how to differentiate in order to meet the needs of children with a range of special educational needs, and advice on how teachers and pupils might evaluate performance and progress.

A traditional skills-and-drills approach to football coaching can be found in Tony Carr's How to Coach a Soccer Team. Drawing on the accumulated wisdom of 30 years working with elite students, including Jermain Defoe, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole, the manager of West Ham's Academy reduces the game to its vital components - movement, control and passing. At the heart of his philosophy is a belief in repetition to speed progress, and an essential need to organise coaching and prioritise the content of sessions around the needs of the team.

Tony Carr's focus on the team and also on the development of current rather than latent ability makes the book ideally suited to coaches and managers of older youth sides or elite squads. The mix of clearly explained and illustrated skill-based activities with sections on attack and defence, and a problem-solving section where solutions to common on-field issues are suggested, will help coaches design sessions that can refine skills, increase tactical awareness and focus the talents of individuals towards team objectives.

For teachers and coaches who are working with younger players, or who are involved at the participation level, Tony Carr's ideas and activities are also adaptable enough to be incorporated into more child-centred or fun-based programmes.

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