The gridlock game

Objective: To encourage one-touch passing and quick movement off the ball.

Age range: U9s to U12s.

Set up: Set out 30 cones as shown below.

The cones are about 1m apart.


How to play

Two players start in where the black dot is (bottom right). Their objective is to take the ball to where the green dot is (top right).


There can only be one player in each square of four cones.

For each square in the grid there can only be one player and they must pass the ball to other squares and the other player must receive it i.e. a player cannot pass to him/herself.

They cannot pass diagonally nor can they cross the red markers.

They cannot pass in the same direction twice. So if they pass across, the next pass must be up or down as shown by the purple arrows.

Coaching notes

At first glance, the restriction of not being able to pass diagonally means that there is only one pattern of getting the ball around the red markers up/across/down/across/etc, but the coach can give them different patterns to get there. E.g. down/up/across/down/up/across/down/up/across so that the player is forced to remain in the square after they’ve passed it and they only move on the second pass.

To make it competitive, pair up players and time each pair as to how long it takes them to get the ball to the target square.

Alternatively, record the times and in the next training session encourage the same pair to beat their own time.

With the clock running, the intention is to see if the players can instinctively move from trap and pass to one-touch passing without being told.

  • Decrease the distance between each marker to improve passing accuracy or increase it to make the game easier.

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