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Supported by Walker Books

Tripod football

First suggested by Scouts Netherlands
Make a tripod then set it on the pitch. Can you work together to score a goal without abandoning your creation?
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Bamboo canes
  • Rope
  • Footballs
  • Something to mark lines (for example, chalk, masking tape, or rope)

Enjoyed this activity? Come and join Football School, where football explains the world. Our pick for the August and September Scouts Book Club​ is Football School: Terrific Teams by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton​. Discover the clubs and national teams whose trophies and triumphs have made history, and read 50 true stories of football’s greatest sides. There are now ten titles in the series to collect!

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Before you begin

  • Make sure you’ve risk assessed your meeting, and also have a COVID-19 safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. You can check out more detailed guidance here

Safety checklist

Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include: 

  • Set up a hand washing station that you can use throughout the session.
  • Make sure everyone stays two metres apart at all times, including when moving their tripods onto the pitch.
  • Make sure everyone has their own equipment for building a tripod. People shouldn’t all dive into one pile of rope, for example.
  • If the ball goes off the pitch, a leader should fetch it. If possible, they should kick it back onto the pitch rather than using their hands.

Build tripods

  1. Put three poles next to each other. Make sure they’re lined up so the bottoms are even.
  2. Use a clove hitch to attach the rope to one of the outside poles. Attach the rope about 15cm from the top of the pole.
  3. Wrap the short tail around the long end of the rope.
  4. Make seven or eight wrapping turns (wrap the rope around all three poles at once).
  1. Put the end of the rope between the middle pole and the pole with the clove hitch on. Make two frapping turns (wrap the rope around the wraps of rope you made in step four).
  2. Pull the frapping turns tight.
  1. Move the end of the rope across the middle pole and put it between the middle pole and the other outside pole.
  1. Make another two frapping turns and pull them tight.
  2. Tie a clove hitch around the outside pole that doesn’t have a clove hitch on already. Leave a length of rope to act as the tripod’s handle.
  3. Stand up the tripod by crossing the outside legs under the middle pole.

Set up the pitch

  1. Everyone should split into two teams.
  2. The person leading the activity should mark out a rectangular pitch on the floor with a goal at each end.
  3. Everyone should take it in turns to place their tripods on the pitch. Each player should be two metres away from others – the tripods may need to be more spaced out than this if players can move around their tripod a little.
  1. Each player should stand by their tripod and hold the rope handle. 

Play tripod football

  1. Each team should work together to score a goal, playing football as normal but without letting go of their rope handle or moving their tripod. This will make it easy to stay two metres apart while playing.
  1. If the ball goes out of play, it should go to the team who weren’t last to touch it. No one should leave their tripods: the person leading the activity should kick it back to the nearest player on the team that gained control.
  2. If a team scores a goal, the other team get control of the ball. The person leading the game should kick the ball back to their player who’s closest to the middle of the pitch.


This activity featured a pioneering twist on a classic sport. The tripods changed how people worked as a team and moved their bodies. Did the new rules made it easier or harder than a regular game of football? People could think about how it was tricky to rely on a good stance and passing technique (because they couldn’t move around the pitch), but how they were able to take more time passing the ball because there wasn’t any tackling. Can anyone think of other sports that could be adapted to make it easier to stay socially distanced? Could any sports be changed to use pioneering? 


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.

Poles and long objects

Be careful when moving poles or long items. Take care if the ends are sharp. Have appropriate supervision for this activity.