“Steal the bacon” with this fun, decision making focused game

If you want your players to improve their decision-making, set them this small-sided game challenge to steal soccer balls from their rivals without giving away their own balls.

Why use it

This fun training game helps your young players to develop their decision making and improve their team work.


You need nine balls, bibs and cones in an area of 25×25 yards. There should be three triangles made of cones that are three yards apart, with three balls in each triangle. We have used nine players in the session.

Ian Barker's "steal the bacon" game

How to play

Split the players into three teams. Each team is based in one of the triangles and each team has three balls. Teams must come up with a tactic that protects their own balls while they go to steal the other team’s balls; they can take their balls with them or pass them around to stop the opposition stealing them. Play for five minutes, or until one team has lost all their balls.


There are lots of techniques on show here. Defensive players must shield and protect, while in attack players can dribble, pass and move to support each other. Teams also need to intercept, press and tackle to win balls from their opponents.

You can also find out what the NSCAA’s CEO and President think about the future of youth soccer.