Arrange a small-sided game with a goal at either end. Make the pitch thin, narrow, and appropriate to your players' age and stage. This helps to encourage receiving and forward play.
Split your pitch into two and create a 3v2 in each half.
To facilitate receiving from various angles, assign 'restart points' in different locations on the pitch (see footballs on the image above).
How to play
- The game is the same on both halves of the pitch. Team one must try to 'score' by receiving the ball and entering the box using one touch or less. Do this, and they win three points.
- Team two must try to win the ball back. Do this, and they can travel to the halfway line – which wins one point. If necessary, team two's goalkeeper can act as an extra outfield player (this creates a 3v3).
- If you're coaching alone, position yourself in the middle of the pitch – so you can see all the players. If you're working as a pair, stand facing one group each.
- Rotate your players to give them a chance to attack and defend.
If your players master this activity – or find it too hard – try adding a progression. But remember, learning takes time. So don’t alter your activity too quickly – or too much. Try using the STEP framework (Youth Sports Trust, 2002). This helps keep things fun, engaging and appropriate.
Before you adjust your practice, here are some questions to think about.
Are players looking around and planning their movement?
Do players have the right technique to control or move the ball?
Do your players pass well? Consider weight, smoothness and accuracy.
If you use this warm-up with your team, let us know how you get on by posting in the England Football Community.