Want to try this with your team? Download the session plan and give it a go.
Set up an area that’s appropriate for your players’ age and developmental stage. Split it into thirds and place a goal at each end.
For this practice, we have ten players split into two teams of five playing on a futsal court. You can adjust these numbers to suit your group.
While one player from each team becomes a goalkeeper, the rest pick a direct opponent from the other side to play 1v1. Each pair should have one ball between them. Make sure each team starts with the same number of footballs where possible.
How to play
The aim of the game is simply to beat your opponent and score. Then repeat.
All outfield players begin in the middle of the pitch, lined up against their direct opponent. They must beat their opponent and get into the final third to shoot. Players can only score when they’re in the final third.
If the attacker scores or the shot is saved, the goalkeeper gives the ball to the player that was defending. They restart the 1v1 and attack the other goal.
If the ball goes out of play, it can be dribbled back in. The defending player at that moment must be one metre back from the sideline.
Play the game for two minutes, then count the scores to create totals for both teams. After that, players find a new opponent and play again.
If your players master your activity – or find it too hard – try adding a progression. One idea could be that when someone scores, the two players involved in that 1v1 go and join a teammate of their choice. This creates an opportunity for 2v1 games. Players could also join partners to play the same game 2v2 or 3v3.
Whatever you do, remember that 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.
Plan to use this with your team? Let us know how you get on by posting in the England Football Community forums.