soccer coaching game to improve player skills

This game, called "You're Off!", helps to improve player skills.

Objective: To improve possession, ball control, short passing, supporting the player on the ball.

Age range: U10s and upwards.

Difficulty: Medium.

Set-up: Divide your players into three teams with goalkeepers.

Set up a 40x30 playing area with goals at both ends.

Note: If you have an uneven number of players just make one or two of the teams bigger. If you have seventeen players, for example, you could have two teams of six and one team of five.

How to play:

There are only two rules:

1. When the ball goes over a sideline, the team that put the ball out of play leaves the field and the waiting team comes on.

2. If a goal is scored, the team that conceded the goal goes off and the waiting team comes on.

The team that wins the most games in 20 minutes is the winner.

Coaching notes:

To begin with, there is a lot of coming and going as players play the game normally, i.e., without too much thought as to the consequences of allowing the ball to go out of play.

After a while, however, they begin to put a lot of effort into keeping the ball. Short passes and close support should begin to replace hopeful kicks upfield.

You will also see players try to win the game by kicking the ball off an opponent and into touch!

It's also in a team's best interests to take lots of shots. If it scores, it wins the game but if it misses and the ball goes over the end line, it stays on anyway. However, its opponent will have to go off if it blocks the shot and the ball goes over a sideline.

Progression: Make the playing area smaller (makes the game harder) and/or reduce the number of touches each player is allowed.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.