How to stop bunching around the ball

I coached U-8 boys to an undefeated season and difference was that we didn’t bunch. Not bunching allowed us to pass. Passing allowed us to control possession. Possession yielded shot opportunities. Shots lead to goals: 39 goals for, 7 goals against.

Here’s the drill:

Scrimmage using a Dutch 4X4 training method field – 40X30 yds.

Two goals 6-8 feet wide at EACH end set nearer to the side than to each other. Indirectly teaches spatial thinking (very hard to do).

Attackers could look up (new concept for 7 year olds) and make a choice as to which goal to attack, i.e. which goal was most open. Forces defenders to cover an open goal AND a goal that was likely to be attacked. Whenever defenders magnetized to the ball and subsequently got burned when play quickly switched to the more open goal and a goal was easily scored, I would stop and give a 15 second lecture, citing the situation that just occurred, about why its wrong for every defender to race to the ball. The situation was repeated many times before they finally started catching on.

When the players start bunching remember to blow the whistle and ask why; before too long they will scatter as soon as they hear the whistle blow.