EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Split The Defenders

Objective: To improve passing and decision making.

Age group: U11 upwards.

Set up: This game is ideally played by three teams of two but don’t worry if you have an uneven number. The game can be played by teams of three. Alternatively, set up a different game for the ‘spare’ players and rotate them in.

Put three teams in an 18×18 yard grid (so you’ll need one grid for every six players).

How to play: Two teams (the attackers) are spread around the outside of the grid. They play ‘keepaway’ with the third team (the defenders) who are inside the grid.

An attacking team gets a point if they can split the defenders by passing the ball between them.

If the ball is intercepted by a defender before they are split, the team that made the mistake goes into the grid.

However, every time the defenders are split they have to intercept the ball one more time before they can get out of the grid. So if they are split twice they must intercept the ball three times before they can become attackers.

Both attacking pairs can score if they split the defenders and complete the pass.

Make the game competitive: 1. Which team of attackers can split defenders the most times in five minutes?
2. Make the grid bigger and put the attackers inside the grid with the defenders.

Progression: 1. As your players get used to the game, limit the attackers to two or three touches.
2. Make the grid bigger and put the attackers inside the grid with the defenders.

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