This game is one of my “back pocket” games. It’s simple, competitive, suitable for all ages, any number of players and it teaches good defending and ball control skills.

Age group: U5s to U11s.

Set up: Create a playing area big enough for all your players to dribble around in.

Every player has a ball except one – the Gladiator.

How to play: Players dribble their ball and try to protect it from the Gladiator who tries to kick the other players’ balls out of the playing area.

Players who have their ball kicked out – or allow their ball to leave the playing area – become Gladiators.

The winner is the last player still dribbling.


Ask your players to dribble with their “wrong” foot only.

Make the playing area smaller.


Set up two playing areas.

  • Start the game with everyone in one playing area.
  • Players who have their ball kicked out go to the second playing area where a new game begins.
  • Once both games are in progress, there is a continual movement of players from one playing area to the other.
  • Play for a set time. The player who moves between playing areas the least number of times is the winner.

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