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Name of Activity:

Dot Stops

Purpose of Activity:

To practice control-dribbling and trapping a ball in a dynamic environment. The skill of "looking up" while dribbling can also be worked on, if desired.


The students should have practiced dribbling, focusing on keeping the ball close to their feet, as well as proper trapping technique (using the sole of the foot).

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

As many "poly-dots" (spots) as possible; soccer balls (one for each student); other miscellaneous obstacles (e.g. cones, boxes, bean bags, garbage cans).

Description of Idea

After you quickly explain the activity, students should begin to dribble their soccer ball around the activity area. If they can trap the ball exactly on top of a poly-dot during that time, they earn one point. After some practice, you can then give students a time limit (for example, 30 seconds). Students can be challenged to earn as many points as possible within the time limit.

Once students have demonstrated their ability to control-dribble and trap, add obstacles such as the boxes, garbage cans, etc. around the area. Now, students may still earn a point for trapping on a poly-dot, but they can also lose all their points if their ball hits an obstacle. Again, a time limit may be added for a further challenge and excitement; have students begin over at "0" each time a new limit is set.

A number of challenges can then be added to the activity, according to the students' skill levels. For example:

  • Have students trap the ball on a dot -- moving slightly forward of the ball -- then quickly turn so they are now dribbling from the same direction from which they just came. As students become proficient at this, the trap and turn are done almost simultaneously.
  • Have students pair up with a student of similar ability (you may decide to pair them up). One student "follows the leader" through the obstacled area, trying to stay as close as possible to the leader. After some practice, a pair may cooperatively earn points by trapping on a dot -- or lose them, if one of the pair's ball touches an obstacle.
  • Two students dribble and pass the ball to each other as they move through the obstacle-free activity area, trying to trap a ball passed to them on a poly-dot. Once you observe that students are fairly successful at this, add the obstacles for them to dribble and pass around.

You can also move students to the next "level" by having them focus on
"looking up" while dribbling. To aid in this skill, hold flash cards up while students are dribbling; see if they can read the card (or give you the answer!) while controlling their ball.


See the challenges (i.e., "applications") and "next-level" ideas (i.e., "extensions") as noted in the description above.

Assessment Ideas:

Begin to play some music. At various intervals during the song, stop the music and see how many students are able to trap their ball within 3 seconds.

Observe students' abilities to "look up" while dribbling the ball.
Using an assessment tool such as the Cue Checklist Sheet, note whether each student usually, sometime, or almost never looks up while dribbling.

Submitted by Connie Meronk who teaches at Harry Spence Elementary School in La Crosse, WI. Additional authors for this idea were Jeannie Bastasch. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 10/2/2001.
Viewed 73047 times since 8/24/2001.

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Dot Stops

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