Back to the castle

This is a fun way to teach your players how to dribble with their heads up and work as a team.

Age range: U5s to U8s.

Difficulty: Easy.

Number of players: Use your whole squad.

Equipment: Four sets of coloured training vests, some flat cones and at least 12 balls.

Set-up: Divide your players into four teams and give them different coloured training vests to wear. If you don’t have four different colours, base the teams on the colour shirts that the players are wearing. If you have four players wearing red shirts, for example, they are the red team.

Create a 30-yard square playing area. Use flat cones to mark out a three-yard square safe zone in each corner.

Each team is allocated one corner, which is that team’s “castle”.

The coach stands just outside the playing area with at least 12 balls. The more balls, the better.

How to play:

  • The objective of the game is for each team to get as many balls in their safe zone (or castle) as possible.
  • Start the game by throwing two or three balls into the playing area.
  • All the players are free to get possession of a ball and dribble it back to their castle.
  • Keep throwing balls in. Soon you will have lots of 1v1 and 1v2 mini games going on.
  • The game is over when all the balls are in the castles.

Coaching notes:

Players should be encouraged to steal any ball that is not stationary inside a castle.

Balls in a castle are safe and can’t be stolen.

Throw the balls in different ways – high, rolling, bouncing, fast, slow.

If a ball leaves the playing area, it is dead. Players should leave it where it is and return to the game. Have an assistant or two gather the dead balls up and return them to you.

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