Want to try this with your team? Download the session plan and give it a go.
This practice is a small-sided game played in a 5v5 format, including goalkeepers. But it can be adapted for other game formats.
To set up, create a pitch suitable for your players’ age and developmental stage and place a goal at each end. To help with the flow of the game, put some footballs around the area you’ve created. Use these to restart the game if the ball goes out of play.
If numbers at training are low, you can always use end zones instead of goals and play without keepers.
How to play
The aim of this activity is to combine with teammates to ensure each goal is worth as many points as possible. Here’s how it works.
Your team play a normal game and work together to score – but there’s a twist in the scoring system. At the start, each player is assigned a value of three. That means when they score, they get three points for their team rather than one. However, the next time that player scores, they get two. And if they score again after that, it’s worth one. A goal is never worth less than one.
This activity encourages players to scan, work together and build relationships. For instance, if someone has already scored twice, their next successful strike will earn the team one point. But their teammate who hasn’t scored would earn three if they hit the back of the net. So, to maximise their goals, they need to collaborate.
If your players master your activity – or find it too hard – try adding a progression. One idea would be to combine the values of the players who assisted and scored. For example, if a player ‘worth’ two points assists the goalscorer who is ‘worth’ three points, their total score is five points. This progression gives players an increased motivation to combine with others and develop the relationships within their team.
Another idea is to give players time-outs every so often to allow them to adjust their playing positions and formation based on their values. For instance, putting a player upfront if they still have a value of three, while those with a value of one become defenders.
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.
Once you’ve put this session into practice, share your experience on the England Football Community.