Win the ball to counter is fun small sided game that combines elements of keep away and counter attacking in a competitive drill between two teams.

Set Up

Create a playing area with a large goal on one end and two mini goals on the other end. Divide the field into two regions. The region nearest the mini goals is the ‘rondo’ keep away region. The area with the large goal is the counter attacking region.

Divide players into two even teams. Position one player from each team in the counter attacking region while the rest of the players start in the keep away region. You’ll also need a goal keeper to defend the large goal and a supply of balls at the top of the drill as pictured in the diagram.

How It Works

The drill starts with the coach playing a 50/50 ball into the keep away region. The team that wins the ball plays keep away from their opposition, trying to complete a minimum number of consecutive passes. The number of passes required can vary depending on the skill level of the players.

Once the team in possession has completed the minimum number of passes they can proceed to trying to score on the mini goals.

If at any point the defending team wins the ball they can attack the large goal directly. When this happens the counter attacking team can send two players into the counter attacking area, creating a 3v1 opportunity. For added pressure you can use a variation where the team defending the counter attack can send in an additional defender so that it becomes a 3v2 instead.

Coaching Points

This is an excellent drill because it helps players work on developing important passing skills and keeping possession of the ball at times where as the emphasis at other times is speed of play and capitalizing on scoring opportunities quickly.

Encourage players to work hard to win the intial 50/50 ball. The team that wins it needs to work together and move off of the ball to connect good passes and keep possession. The counter attacking team should apply relentless pressure and press the ball to create a chance going the other way.

 

Spread It Around

Spread it around is a simple mini game where each player on the team must touch the ball once before a team can score a goal.

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Safe zone dribbling is a musical chairs inspired dribbling warm-up that is especially great for young players to work on moving with the ball and reacting quickly.

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4v4 corner targets is a three team competition where teams earn points by keeping possession and playing in to one of the corners.

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