First, create an area appropriate to the age and stage of your players. Then, split this area in half.
Next, take your players and create two even teams. Assign the teams to either half of the pitch. This area is then their ‘home stadium’.
Finally, pair up players from either team to create 1v1s. Assign each pair to a half and give them a ball. Within each pair, the player who’s in their ‘home stadium’ starts the game with the ball.
How to play
The aim of the game is for players to keep the ball in – or move it to – their home stadium. To do this, players must try to retain possession. Or, if they don’t have the ball, win it back. Try adding a time limit to increase the sense of competition.
If your team master this game – or find it too hard – add a progression.
For example, instead of letting players choose their own route to their stadium, set up predefined ‘tunnels’. These tunnels can be wide or narrow and should be placed along the halfway line. This progression makes the activity harder for players who need to move between stadiums and easier for players who have just lost the ball.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that learning takes time. So don't alter your activity too quickly or too much. To help, try using the STEP framework (Youth Sports Trust, 2002). This is a great way to keep things fun, engaging and appropriate.
If you use this session with your team, let us know how you get on by posting in the England Football Community.