Castle Keep

Objectives: To improve defending skills, especially in numbers up situations.

Age group: U7s to U11s.

Set up: Split your players into teams of four and create a 12-yard square for each team.

Put a ball on top of a flat cone in the middle of each grid. This is the ‘castle’.

One of the four players should wear an different coloured top or training vest. She is the designated defender (the guardian of the castle).

How to play: The three attackers pass the ball around the guardian of the castle and try to knock the ball off the cone with a pass.

The guardian gets a point if they can stop the attackers hitting the castle for 20 seconds.

Change the guardian when the castle is hit or when the guardian wins a point.

Each player has five turns as the guardian. The player with the most points wins.


  • Make the area smaller for older or skilful players.
  • If players stand next to the castle, mark out a three-yard exclusion zone around it.

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