Focus: Possession through passing, spreading out, using space.
Age: U8-U10 (And older)
Equipment: Flat cones to define the playing area. Coloured bibs to identify teams. A couple of balls.
Players: 12-16 players work well, as few as 10 will work in a pinch, and as many as 20 can be accommodated.
Space: 30×30 to 40×40 or so. Can be done easily on half a field.
Introduction: Getting young players to recognize the usefulness of spreading out can be one of the most challenging aspects of coaching youth soccer. The plaintive cry of “Spread Out!” can be heard from the sidelines in many youth matches. This exercise should help the young players discover the value of spreading out and passing to maintain possession, in a fun and intuitive way.
Setup: Establish area boundaries compatible with the age and number of players present. Four U10’s start with an area about 30 yards in diameter and define it with flat cones. Inside the area, create another, smaller circle about 7-10 yards in diameter. This is the “Black Hole”. For older players like U12, make the area larger, like 40 yards in diameter, and the black hole proportionally larger, like 10-15 yards in diameter. I even use this with U14’s with the centre circle (20 yards in diameter) as the “Black Hole”.
Split the team evenly, and identify the teams with different colored pinnies. In the following diagram, the z team has possession of the ball, and the x team is defending/trying to get possession.