This is a good all round soccer coaching drill. It helps children improve just about every basic skill including vision, transition, communication, passing, receiving and shooting.
It works best with 14-17 players including two keepers. Start with big goals (or even U10 goals will work) and use a basketball court as boundaries. Break the group into 3 teams (a red, white and blue team for our example) and have a keeper in each goal. Assuming you are playing with 17 players, you have 5 v 5 plus keepers. Pick a duration for the game (20 minutes is a good time period) and start with red v white with blue on the side. The rules are very simply. It’s regular soccer but anytime a ball goes over a sideline the team that it went out off of, gets off the field and the team that is resting plays. So, using our red v white example, the two teams play and if the ball goes over the sideline off of white, it’s red ball and they are now attacking BLUE. Red does NOT have to wait for blue to get on the field or set up. This is a game that encourages quick transition as well as possession and shooting (if the ball goes over the end line, it’s a loss of possession but the team who knocked it over the end line does get to stay on the field).
The other way to get the opponent off the field is to score a goal. The team that gets scored upon has to leave the field and the team that scored the goal stays on, gets the ball and attacks the opposing goal.
When you start playing this game, it will seem to be quite chaotic but as the players get used to it, you will see them really adding a great deal of thought to their play. Instead of just getting the ball and kicking it (which will frequently result in them having to get off the field) they must try to maintain possession. Also, in the beginning, the team that is off the field will stand together at midfield waiting for their turn. Real quickly they will learn to spread out because they have to be prepared to defend either goal at any time. You will find that this drill will increase a team’s communication dramatically.
Some of the things that this game works on are possession (teams don’t want to have to sit out so they will work on possessing the ball in order to get to play more), shooting (it’s in a teams best interest to hit a lot of shots because if they score, they get a point and the opponent has to sit out, plus if it goes over the end line they still stay on, as a bonus, if the shot is blocked by an opponent and it goes over the sideline, the opponent has to sit out), communication, defence, organization and most of the other things that are used in a regular soccer game.
Not only is this game something that works on all of the above aspects of the game, it’s also a great deal of fun for the players. To watch a player get caught in a corner with the ball and one or two opponents and see her realize that she can kick the ball off of the opponent so that it goes over the sideline for which knocks the opponent off the field is both fun to watch as well as very gratifying from a coaches perspective in that it encourages a player to really think on the field instead of just kicking or simply doing what they are told.
An added bonus is hearing the players yell to the team that just lost the ball out of bounds “GET OUT OF HERE!”