Clear the decks

Age group: U10s upwards

Objective: To improve short and long passing skills

Equipment: Cones to mark out a grid, several footballs.

Set up

Play on a 7-a-side pitch or use cones to mark out a 60×40 yard grid with a halfway line. Divide your players into two teams with each team occupying one half of the playing area. Place half the soccer balls behind each end of the grid.

How to play

On your signal, both teams attempt to get all the balls into their opponent’s half without crossing the half way line.

Encourage accuracy by telling your players that if they kick the ball out of their opponent’s half – either out the back or across the side – it counts against them when the game is over.

At the end of agreed time (30 secs-1 minute) award 1 point to the team that has the most balls in their opponent’s half.

If a player touches a ball after the stop signal, you may automatically award that round to the opposition to discourage cheating.

Develop the drill

Insist that the ball is in the air when it crosses the halfway line so players can practise chipping the ball.