Practice design in football: two-goal 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 two-goal games.
What is a two-goal game in football?
In this type of activity, players are tasked with defending one goal and attacking the other. It's classic football.
Two-goal games are really quick and easy to set up. If you have existing pitch lines where you train, use them to create an area. Then you just need some goals – grab your nets, cones or even a few jumpers.
Another benefit of two-goal games is that they feel like 'real' football. By having a goal at each end of the pitch, you create a matchday dynamic. This allows players to practice critical skills – such as pressing and finding space – in a realistic context.
Two-goal games can also help you achieve specific learning objectives. Given their simple design, it's easy to implement constraints that encourage players to focus on a particular aim.
For example, imagine you want your team to work on their ability to press. You could set them a task to win the ball back in the opposition's half. To inspire players to do this, every time they win the ball back in their opponents' half, and score, reward them with three goals – rather than one.
This way, without them thinking about it, they have an incentive to work on your learning objective.
How do I create a two-goal game?
- As long as there's a goal at each end, the pitch doesn't have to be perfect, so involve your players in setting up.
- Maximise constraints that reward and motivate players.
- Minimise constraints that restrict their freedom to play.
- Consider using a tournament format. For example, play three seven-minute games instead of playing one long game for 20 minutes.
- If the players are loving it, keep playing!
What does a two-goal game look like in real life?
Watch the video below for an example of a two-goal game that Pete Sturgess, FA national 5-11 lead, uses in his session.