Numbers up

Objective: To improve passing, shooting, communication and possession skills.

The players’ objective: To score or keep possession of the ball.

Age range: U9s and upwards.

Difficulty: Medium.

Set-up: Create a 40 yards long by 30 yards wide playing area with a small goal in each corner.

This game is played between two uneven teams. In youth football jargon that means you play it “numbers up”.

So you need to divide your players into one team of four or five and one team of two or three.

Tip: The younger or less experienced your players, the more uneven the teams need to be. With U9s, I usually start with 5v2.

How to play:

  • Each team defends and attacks two goals.
  • The team with the most players has to put three or four passes together before they can shoot.
  • The smaller team can shoot as soon as it gets the ball.
  • If the ball goes out of play, possession is always given to the larger team which passes the ball in from where it left the playing area.
  • Play first to five goals wins then switch the players around.

Coaching notes: If the larger team is having difficulty keeping the ball, reduce the number of passes they have to complete or increase the number of players on their team.

If the smaller team can’t get a touch, give them more players. If they can’t get a shot in before they lose the ball, allow them to score in any of the four goals.

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