Half and half

This game can be used to practice supporting the player on the ball, spotting a through pass.

Age range: U9s to U15s.

Number of players: Eleven.

Tip: If you have more than 11 players, don’t make the teams bigger. Instead, use your spare players as “side supports” working up and down the touchline receiving and passing back to the team in possession.

Equipment required: Flat cones, one ball, training vests in three colours.

Set-up: A 30×20 playing area with a centre line and a goal at each end.

Divide your players into two teams of five: One defender, three attackers and one goalkeeper, plus a neutral player who plays for the team in possession.

How to play: Play with one condition: Players cannot move out of their own half – the attackers must stay in their opponent’s half and defenders must stay in the half of the pitch in front of their goal.

So you always have three attackers and one defender in each half.

Any player can score except the neutral player who can play in either half of the playing area.

Progression: The neutral player is restricted to two or three touches of the ball.

Coaching points: Encourage defenders to keep possession until they spot an opportunity for a through pass to one of their attackers.

The neutral player can carry the ball from one half to another and assist the attackers.

Guided discovery questions:

  • How can the defenders keep the ball away from the other team’s attackers while they are waiting to pass the ball to their attacker?
  • How can the attackers help their defender find them with a pass?
  • In which half should the neutral player be?

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