Pass to the end player

This is a fun and effective way to improve passing and receiving skills as well as the ability to spot and execute a through-pass.

Age group: U8s and upwards.

Number of players: Eight to 16.

Set-up: Create a square playing area suitable for the age and number of your players and split your players into equal teams.

How to play: A player from team A stands on one end line and a player from team B on the opposite end line.

The rest of the players try to pass to their team mate who is on the end line. If they succeed, they join their end player on the line.

The team that gets all it’s players on their end line first is the winner.

Note: To be counted as successful, a pass must be controlled by the end player.

Progression: Play two or three-touch.

This game works well with most young players.

Several of my U12s, however, like to stay in the game for as long as possible and they won’t pass to their end player even when there is a clear opportunity to do so.

To stop that, I changed the game slightly.

The end lines are now called jails.

The game begins in the same way as before – with one player from each team in jail (i.e., on their end line) – but now if you make a successful pass you don’t join your team mate on the line.

Instead, you get to send a player on the other team to their end line – in other words, send them to jail.

The winning team is now the team that can send all the players on the other team to jail first.

Coaching tip

Generally, the more players you have, the bigger the playing area needs to be.

If I had 10 U10s playing this game, I would begin with a 20-yard square playing area. If I had 16 players, I would use a 30-yard square.

But regardless of the number of players you have (or their ages), it is good practice to progressively shrink playing areas.

Making the space smaller requires players to play faster, more accurately and is a good way to build the tempo of your coaching sessions.

With my 10 U10s, for example, I would start with a 20-yard square but as they got used to the game I would gradually move the cones inwards until they were playing in a 15-yard square.

Very competitive and loads of fun!

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