Steal the ball

It’s all about positioning in this lively intercepting game aimed at teaching your players how to nick the ball back from the other team while it’s still in midfield.

Why use it

This is a great game to help defensive midfielders prevent penetrative passes by intercepting the ball. Once they have it, they are encouraged to counterattack.

Set up

Mark out a 12×12-yard square with pop up goals (or cones two-feet apart) on each corner and placed two-feet behind the line. Mark out a centre box 4x4ft. You need balls, bibs and cones.

How to do it

Play a 5v2 game with one player of the team of five locked in the centre box and one on each side of the playing area. The team of five play with two touches and the two midfielders must try to steal the ball. As counterattacking is vital, if they intercept the ball they can score in any of the four goals. The key to success is the midfielder’s starting position in relation to where the ball is, where the centre square is and where the opponent is.


In this small area the midfielders must press and support each other to steal the ball from the passing team. They will learn where best to position themselves to make it hard for the passing team to penetrate the box.

Intercept the ball

    1. The passing team starts with the ball. They must play each pass through the grid and are restricted to two touches, one to control and one to pass
    2. To score a point the team of five can pass to their team-mate in the centre or make eight passes

Block the ball

    3. Goals must be two-feet behind the line to give room for the passing players to cover it
    4. If the midfielders win the ball they must quickly score in one of the four small goals around the pitch

Intercept the ball

    5. If the passing team manage to cover all the goals before the defenders can score, play goes back to the passing team
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