Get out of here!

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!”

Four goal game

4 goal game

4 goal gameReview: I’ve used this drill many times with my U12 girls team. It encourages them to keep their heads up, make quick decisions and switch the play quickly. A top drill!

Purpose: To develop passing and switching play in attack, and cover and balance in defence.

Procedure: An area approximately 60X60 yards square is used; four small goals are placed at each corner. Goalkeepers do not play; each team defends two goals at one end and attacks the other two at the far end. The players play possession soccer and attempt to ‘pull’ the bulk of the defenders over to defend one goal before switching the ball suddenly towards the less well-guarded goal and trying to score there.

Development: (a) Play one- or two-touch soccer. (b) The coach can award extra points for goals which come directly from the team switching play.

Let’s hustle!


AgressivenessDrill Info:

This is for ages U8, U10, U12, U14, U16. It is best ran with at least 4 but not more than 20 players.


Create a grid that is 30×30 yards. Create 4 teams and have them stand at each of the four corner cones. The coach stands outside the grid near the middle of 2 side cones with a large supply of soccer balls.


The coach plays a football into the centre of the grid and shouts out a command (such as “GO”) to begin play. The first player in each of the 4 lines must sprint after the ball in attempt to reach the ball first. Once the ball is won cleanly, the player must hold possession from the other players for 5 seconds before passing the ball back to the coach. If any player steals the ball from the person in possession, that player will then attempt to hold possession for 5 seconds. A team scores a point by successfully holding possession for 5 seconds and making a return pass to the coach. The first team to reach 5 points wins.


* The coach can play different types of balls such as flighted balls, bouncing balls, rolling balls, balls with large amounts of top or back spin.

Coaching Points:

* Players should be taught to go after the ball aggressively with speed, determination and vigour.


Technical Dribbling, Technical Aggressiveness

Change soccer

Chnge soccer

Chnge soccerOrganisation

Group is split into two; if odd number, coach joins in or plays the strongest squad a player short.

In the example shown, three players from each team play a normal game.

Three players on each team are collective goalkeepers; positioned no more than 2-yards off each goal line.

They are not allowed to handle ball.

Goals count only below knee height.

Coach shouts “Change!” and on-field teams run back to goal line, without touching the ball again, to become the goalkeepers.

Goalkeeping teams become the on-field teams and move quickly to win possession.

Coach shouts “Change!” at any time.

Make goals wide enough so that it’s not too difficult to score.

Any major infraction means a free shot from the half-way line, with no goalkeepers.

Teaching Points

Encourage players to pass frequently in order to create scoring chances.

Encourage goalkeeping team to move sideways together, as a wall.

Defenders should help each other and stay on their feet as much as possible.


To outscore the opposition.

Across the line

Across the line

Across the lineTwo teams play soccer on a field without goals. A point is scored when a player dribbles the ball over and stops the ball within three feet of the end line.


“Push the ball into space” – move ahead into open space.

“Keep control of the ball” – when crossing the line.

“Pass the ball if a teammate is open for a pass” – passing is more efficient than dribbling.

“If you can’t dribble forward, look to pass the ball backward” – use this game to teach players the concept of support.


Harder: Stop the ball on the end line for a point.

Easier: Vary the field size. Wider field makes it easier for the offensive team.

Make smaller teams (2 vs. 2 or even 1 vs. 1). Winning team stay on.

Big goals, small goals

This is a good game for improving communication skills among your players. The players attacking the two small goals have to work together to score in an unguarded goal.

The team attacking the large goal has two goals to defend with just four players. Talking to each other is required!

Skill level: intermediate

Set up: place two small goals at one end of a 30 yards by 40 yards area and a full-size goal at the other end.

Divide your squad into teams of four and five.

How to play: the team with five players has a goalkeeper and four outfield players. This team attacks the two small goals. The team of four attacks the large goal.

Coaching points: encourage good, loud communication between the players.

The team of five should be trying to switch play from one side of the playing area to the other quickly while the team of four (attacking the large goal) need to think about what to do if they lose the ball. For example, should two players be assigned to protect each goal?

Anything goes!

This soccer drill is NOT meant to teach or condone unfair physical contact.

But it is does help players to cope with such contact when they encounter it!

Age: U12 and up.

Equipment: Coloured bibs, footballs, access to a small field with full goals, or cones and flags to create a small, pressure-cooker type of field.

Players: Typical team of 16 or so.

Space: Pressure Cooker Field (small field 30×30 – 40×40 or so, with full sized goals).

Introduction: Physical play is part and parcel of the game of soccer. Getting players used to “mixing it up” is a necessary part of team preparation. This game focuses on preparing the players for physical contact in a game setting. It is NOT meant to teach or condone physical contact that is against the Laws of the Game. But it is meant to teach the players how to “play through” such contact when they encounter it. “Play through” refers to using your body and skills to allow you to continue the play without injury and while maintaining an attack.

Setup: A small, pressure-cooker style field, which measures anywhere from 30×30 to 40×40 with full sized goals. You can also use corner flags to create appropriate goals, and cones to delineate a field of appropriate size. Split the team into 2 equal groups, each identified by a different coloured bib.

Execution: Keeper plays in each goal. Each team protects a goal. Essentially, this is an 8v8 (or similar numbers) game played in a very small space. Explain the purpose of the exercise: To prepare them to play physically, within the Laws of the Game, and to react appropriately (not retaliate) when they encounter overly physical play. Conditions for this game are that the defensive players can use their hands, push, shove, pull shirts, anything safe to try to win the ball from the ball carrier. Girls and boys typically react differently to this exercise. With boys it will start out with shirt pulling and holding of the arms, and quickly degenerate to full blown rugby style tackling. This is OK as long as it is being done safely. DO NOT allow hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, or tripping.

Girls do not naturally take to this type of exercise with their teammates. You need to encourage them to hold, pull, push, etc. for the exercise to have good effect.

You should see the physical play break down the technical skills of the ball holder initially. The ball holder must become aggressive as he or she protects the ball. And as the defensive players close down on the ball carrier, knowing when to pass the ball, rather than try to hold it against the extreme defensive pressure becomes important. As does moving to support the ball carrier, and the ball carrier knowing at all times where his available passing options are located, and which direction they are moving. The number of players on the small field should create an environment where there is immediate, intense pressure brought to bear on the ball carrier after every pass. It should also create a crowded environment where passing is quite difficult, resulting in the ball carrier having to work through traffic (and intense pressure and physical play) himself, or herself.

Coaching Points:

1) Keep a low centre of gravity and a wide stance to keep from being pushed off the ball.

2) When being held, especially if it is shirt or shorts grab, it is often best to quickly and decisively move away and break the hold, rather than try to steadily pull against it.

3) Always have a plan: What would you do with the ball RIGHT NOW, if you received it from a teammate. Where would you put the ball with your first touch, and what are your shooting or passing options?

4) Try to play the ball into space with your first touch (there should be precious little space available to do this), and sprint onto it.

5) Use your first touch to set yourself up for a shot with your second touch.

6) Try to receive the ball in an area outside the reach of any defenders.

7) Try to place all passes in such a way that your teammate is either outside the reach of any defenders, or can immediately one-touch a shot on goal.

8) Don’t coach the defenders. You don’t want them thinking that you condone this type of play. Make certain they understand that you will not condone the type of defending that you are encouraging in this exercise!

All up and all back

allupHow to play: In an area approximately 60X40 yards, with portable goals on the end lines and a half-way line marked on the area, two teams play soccer with the following condition of play: for a goal to count, the entire team must be over the half-way line and into the opponents’ half of the area when the final header or shot is struck.

Development: A team can be awarded two goals if they score with their players over the half-way line and if they catch ‘stragglers’ from the opposition who have not managed to get back into their defensive half of the area when the goal is scored. Attackers who cannot get back are punished by a free-kick being given to the opposition from the point at which they were caught.