877-542-5504 877-542-5504

Want to Help Fellow Teachers?

Please help us grow this free resource by submitting your favorite lesson plans.

Lesson Plan #: AELP-TSP0004
Submitted by: Chris Jones
Endorsed by: Don Descy
School/University/Affiliation: Mankato State University Date: May 27, 1998

Grade Level(s): 4, 5, 6


  • Physical Education/Team Sports

Description: This lesson may be used to introduce students to the skills needed to play football. The students will have an opportunity to practice the following activities: ball catching, forward pass, carrying the ball, hand-off, and lateral toss. Goal: Students will be exposed to the basic football skills.


  • To help develop coordination by lateral toss and throwing the ball through the hoop.
  • To develop arm and hand strength and coordination for throwing, catching, and handing off the football.
  • To develop knowledge of football skills to be applied outside activities.
  • To gain an understanding of the skills used in playing football.
  • To practice football skills and learn to stretch the muscles involved.
  • Background Information: This activity can be used at various football skill levels-as an introduction to beginners or as a review for the more practiced students.  Do not forget to properly stretch and warm up the appropriate muscles before beginning this activity. Materials:

    • footballs
    • hula-hoops
    • rope

    Definition of Football Skills: Catching the ball

    Palms face out to the direction of the ball.  Curve the fingers and relax them.  Let the pads of fingers receive the ball, not the palms.  Watch the ball  into hands.  As the ball reaches you, pull your hands into your body to absorb the force.

    Forward pass

    The forward pass is an overhand throw.  Hold the ball slightly past the middle with two or three fingers on the laces.
    Bring the ball straight back just behind your head and then bring the ball straight forward.  When you release, roll your fingers off to achieve an ideal spiral motion.  Try finishing your throw by pointing at your partner/target.

    Carrying the ball

    Hold the ball on the inside of the arm and the elbow joint, in a cradle fashion.  Hold the ball on the left side of your body when running right and on the left side when running left.


    The receiver forms a box with his/her arms. This is where the ball will be placed.  NOTE:  The arm furthest from the quarterback/giver is ALWAYS the lower arm. As the ball is received, the receiver closes their arms around the ball, secures it, and moves away.  Students do not slam the ball into the receivers stomach!

    Lateral toss

    Hold the ball in both hands on the opposite side of the body from where you want the ball to go. Bring the ball across the body and release at waist level. Transfer your body weight in the direction you’re throwing. A spiral is desired when throwing a lateral toss.


    1.  Begin with stretching (hold for a count of 8)–hurdler stretch, shoulder shrugs, neck stretch, etc.
    2.  Jog or walk two laps around the gym.
    3.  Demonstrate and explain the five football skills.
    4.  Allow students to practice each skill with a partner.
    5.  Ask the students to get into groups of three.
    6.  Send each group to a hula-hoop (hula-hoops hanging from basketball hoops-use sturdy rope)
    7.  One student swings hula-hoop while the other two students practice throwing through the hoop using the lateral toss and forward pass.
    8.  Rotate students after five throws.

    Assessment: Observe students while practicing the football skills. Ask the student groups if they were successful throwing the football through the hula-hoop using various throws.