Skills round-up

If you find yourself staging trials to find new players for your team, use this game to help you assess the talents of the footballers taking part.

Why use it

At trials you need to see players in many situations. This session gives a lot of different ways for players to use the ball to attack, defend, pass and shoot.

Set up

Set up a circular area of 18×18 yards (or use the centre circle of your pitch) with back-to-back mini goals in the middle. We’ve used nine players. You need balls, bibs and cones.

How to do it

Split the players into three teams of three. Play 3v3 in the centre of the circle. The other team are around the outside and they play for the team in possession, making 6v3 in favour of attack. They cannot enter the circle but they can play around it. Teams can score in either goal but the team in possession must play a one-two with an outside player before taking a shot. After a goal or if the ball goes out, restart by playing to the team who didn’t put it out.


The defending team must think about how to protect the goals. Attackers must be alert to where there is space to play the one-two and they must work the overload to their advantage. Look for players who anticipate the passage of movement and who never give up. Also look for good passing and receiving skills, awareness of space and good shooting.

Trials for skills

    1. The game starts by the coach feeding the ball into one of the teams
    2. The team in possession must play a one-two with an outside player before they can take a shot on goal

skills trials

    3. Defenders must anticipate the attacker’s movement and cover both goals
    4. If a defender intercepts the ball his team immediately become attackers and can build a move with the outside player

Trials for your players

    5. Rotate players after three minute so each team gets a turn outside the circle
    6. Here the attacker receives the ball from an outside player before switching play to another neutral player who ups an attacker to shoot
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