This three-part practice develops players’ ability to receive the ball ready to shoot. By STEVE OAKES MORE
Staying on the ball – Practice
WHY USE IT
This practice aims to encourage young players to stay on the ball, giving them opportunities to develop confidence and technique, working across all four corners (technical, physical, social and psychological).
Mark out a series of small areas relative to the age and ability of your players. Put players in pairs, one in each area, each pair with a ball.
HOW TO PLAY
One player in each pair starts as the attacking player with the ball. They have 10 lives. If they take the ball out of the area, or if the defender touches the ball, the attacker loses a life. If the defender kicks the ball out of the area, the attacker regains a life. Attackers aim to retain their lives for as long as possible, before swapping over. Progress the session to have a third neutral player on the outside to support the attacker. The attacker can choose to pass to them, but lose a life if they do.
Encourage players shielding the ball to keep their body between the defender and the ball, using their furthest foot to manoeuvre it. Players should have an arm out to keep the defender away and look to move into space when the opportunity arises.