Practice design in football: target games
Planning your training session? In a series of articles, we examine five activities to help engage and develop your players. Here, we look at target games.
What is a target game in football?
In this type of activity, your team is tasked with taking or passing the ball to a target. Examples include a player, zone or box. Once the ball reaches the target, your team are awarded a goal (or a point).
Target games are often used to work on the principles and technical components of attacking. For example, helping players to:
- combine creatively
- use their movement to find space
- receive the ball
- penetrate the defence.
However, as with all game-related practices, the outcomes are influenced by the design, scoring system and challenges you use.
How do I create a target game?
Here are some simple steps to follow.
- Identify your outcome – what do you want the players to improve?
- Based on the outcome, decide on your target area (zone, box or a player) and how many there will be.
- Decide whether the game will be directional or multi-directional.
- Define your scoring system – what do the team in possession need to do to score, and how many points will they get?
- Outline some challenges for the opposition – how can they make it difficult for the team in possession to score?
- Consider other rules you might need to explain to the players before they start.
As you plan, it’s essential to consider your players' needs. Create relevant game conditions that challenge everyone. Using the ‘STEP’ framework can help.
What does a target game look like in real life?
Watch the video below to see how Suey Smith, FA coach development officer, uses target games with her players.