Play it through

I found this game really does help young players spot opportunities for a through pass and play the ball quickly before the chance disappears.

Age range: U9s and upwards.

Number of players: Eight.

Set-up: Split a 40-yard square area horizontally into thirds.

The middle third is 20 yards wide and the end zones are each 10 yards wide.

The end zones are further divided into four 10-yard squares.

How to play

  • Place one player in each of the four squares in the end zones.
  • The player in square 1 attempts to pass to the player in square 3.
  • If the pass is intercepted by the player in square 2, he tries to pass to the player in square 4 and now the player in square 3 tries to intercept.
  • If the pass is successful, the player in square 3 tries to pass back to the player in square 1.

Coaching notes: To begin with, players are not allowed to leave their zones.

If your players are finding this exercise easy, allow the intercepting player to move out of his square and put more pressure on the pass.

Tell your players not to let the ball stop moving.

Move players around between squares every minute or two.

Progression: Take away the four squares in the end zones and play a 4v4 game in the middle zone.

Teams score a point by making a pass into an end zone for a team-mate to run onto.

Coaching note: the only player allowed in the end zone is the player running onto the pass.

Finally, remove the end zones, put a goal at each end and play a “normal” SSG. Award extra points for through passes.

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