Running with the ball

Train your players to run at opposition defenders with the ball, making it difficult for the defenders to either tackle or turn and chase. One way to scare defenders at any level of the game is to run at them with the ball at speed. Even good defenders find it hard to cope with a player capable of this skill.

Set up

The longest sprint a young player will make is less than 10 yards and not in a straight line – so for this session to work we’re using a square with one-yard boxes on each corner and with five yards between boxes. Players sprint five yards with the ball and then change direction and sprint five yards without it. We are using six players. You need balls and cones.

How to play it

This game is all about speed, with two players racing to the next box in a continuous sprint-rest movement. Because of the speed of the action, the rest period is important for players. This should be played for just three or four minutes as a warm-up or between games.


This is a great game for increasing a player’s dribbling and ball control speed. If you can get players to run and control the ball at speed they will learn how to make it count in matches.

1. Start the session with three players on the first corner – one with a ball, one to race against and one stays on the corner
2. There should be one player on each of the other three corners who must be ready to dribble the ball to the next square

3. The dribbling player must stop the ball quickly in the square, running through it to keep out of the way of the next dribbling player
4. The player who has stopped the ball must turn and race against the next dribbling player and then rest on the corner waiting for the ball to come around again

5. Try reversing the session so players are running clockwise, making them turn and run on their other side

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