How to use space in your sessions
Using areas of different sizes and shapes is a great way to support your players' development. We delve into how and why.
What is space?
Space is one of the four elements of the STEP framework (Youth Sports Trust, 2002). Simply put, it refers to the area you use to complete your activity.
You can adjust your space by changing its size, shape and dimensions. You can also add different markings or zones. Let’s take a closer look.
Changing the size of your space
An easy way to manipulate your team’s space is to change its size.
These areas give your players less room to move around. This creates a high-intensity game with lots of ball contact and physical contact. Less space also encourages moments of transition (where possession moves from one team to the other).
Small spaces are a great choice if you want players to work on:
- individual ball skills
- using their body to protect or win the ball
- quick decision-making.
However, it’s important to remember that small spaces can be a challenge for novice players. A tight area also means the ball will go out of play a lot, and your team might get tired quickly.
These areas give players more room to move around and extra time to make decisions.
Big spaces are a great choice if you want players to work on:
- travelling with the ball
- long-distance passing and movements.
However, compared to small spaces, teams experience lower levels of physical contact and fewer moments of transition. They may also feel less involved in the game.