San Francisco Microsoccer

League Rules And Agreements

Organizing Your Practice

  • Arrive 15 minutes early to inspect field (check for glass, holes, etc.) and set up practice areas with cones, discs, flags. Organize scrimmage vests. Pump up balls.
  • Have a Theme and Written Plan (very important).
  • Practice Time: No more than an hour.
  • Remember: The less you talk, the more they’ll hear. Your audience has an attention span of 20 seconds or less.

Six Steps to a Successful Practice:

  1. Warm-up, incorporating theme. You will also stretch during this time
  2. Fun game (also reinforces theme)
  3. Games with goals
  4. Scrimmage with conditions
  5. Scrimmage with NO conditions
  6. Cool Down

Sample Practice

Theme: Dribbling

Dribbling in small spaces. Keep ball close to feet. Use inside of foot.

  1. Warm up: Tag. Every 30 seconds stop and stretch a muscle group. (5 min.)
  2. Fun Game: Traffic Exchange (5 min.)
  3. Game with Goals, 1 v 1: Score by stopping ball on opponent’s foal line. Rotate players every 45 seconds. 8 min. Add 2 min. for water break (10 min. total)
  4. Condition: You can only score by dribbling through goal (12’ wide) (10 min.)
  5. No conditions. Let them play! (15 min.)
  6. Cool Down: Crab Soccer (10 min.) 55 minute practice!

Plan Your Whole Season

This is more for the experienced coach. Thing ahead. Don’t just organize your session, think about organizing your whole season. Your plan will change (and it should change according to what your players need). But season planning will give your season shape and force you to think ahead and prepare (especially for topics you’re unsure about and may need time to research them).

Week 1: Dribbling. Fun games!

Week 2: Rules of Game. In bounds/Out of bounds. Restart Plays: Kick-off, Throw-in, Goal Kick, Corner Kick, Basic Goalkeeping. Show players how game day works: Two Fields, Substitutions, Half-time, etc.

Week 3: Passing/Shooting (Goalkeeping for U7/8)

Week 4: Team shape. Shadow Play. 

Week 5: Dribbling. Fake R go L. Fake L go R. Review throw-ins

Week 6: Receiving. First Touch.

Week 7: Passing/Shooting

Week 8: Team shape

You may never get past dribbling! It’s OK to repeat a practice, even several times. Games and practices will show you what players need most. Do not try to fix everything at once. You will frustrate and confuse your players (and yourself).


Coaching Techniques

  • Utilize your help. Let parents help you set up fields, get out scrimmage vests, etc.
  • Set up multiple fields so practices can flow immediately from one section to another
  • Less talk, more play! Kids want to do one thing only – play. When you talk, you are an obstacle. Keep verbal instruction to 20 seconds. It’s always better to demonstrate.
  • Make eye contact. Squat down and communicate at their level when talking one-on-one
  • No standing in lines. Children want to play, not wait

Correction Methodology

  • Keep your corrections limited to your theme
  • Don’t correct someone’s passing if you’re working on dribbling
  • Remember, everything is about reinforcing your theme
  • Don’t talk! Show them!
  • The following is especially effective during field sessions (a controlled scrimmage for example):

Stop it. Yell “Freeze!” and have everyone stop

Recreate it. Everyone has taken a couple of extra steps. Recreate where everyone was when the mistake was made

Rehearse it. 3 times with corrections. Make the correction and have the player do it correctly 3 times (without pressure)

Replay it. Replay it at speed.

You can also use “triggers” to help you get what you want. Amy’s passes to Sam are inaccurate. One of the main reasons is because she isn’t getting her head up to see where Sam is before she passes the ball to him. Other corrections I may need to make at a later date include: Hips opened up towards player she’s passing to, non-kicking foot planted to side of ball and pointed in direction of pass, pacing of ball shouldn’t been too hard or too soft… Be careful, you don’t want to overwhelm the player. For now, I’ll just get her to keep her head up!

I’ll recreate the play from where Jose passed the ball to Amy. I need to create space and time for Amy to be successful (so she doesn’t rush her pass). I will tell Amy to get her head up before she passes the ball. I will tell the team:

  • Trigger #1: “Ball is live AFTER Amy passes the ball.” This will prevent the defense from applying pressure until after she passes it.
    • If she has success, gradually increase the pressure to make it more “game like”
  • Trigger #2: “Ball is live WHEN Amy receives the ball.”
    • If she has success with that, go to:
  • Trigger #3: “Ball is live AS SOON AS Jose passes it to Amy.”

“Triggers” are a progressive and effective way to coach within the context of the game

  • Know something’s wrong, but you don’t know what or how to correct it?
    • It’s ok. Let them play. It is often said, “The game is the greatest teacher of all.”

Creating Soccer Players, Not Forwards, or ....

“Josh is an amazing  defender ! Whenever he’s in the back, I almost always win. The players around him are weak defensively, so it’s imperative I have someone who’s strong in defense. When we play a strong team, Josh plays in defense the whole game. When I let him play somewhere else, we almost always give up a goal right away. I’d like to let him play offense more, but I have to think about what’s best for the team…”

  • Translation: When Josh is in defense, we have a better chance to win.

Josh’s development as a complete soccer player is being compromised. Will his teammates become better defenders if Josh is always there to bail them out? No. So the development of his teammates is also being compromised. The development of a player and of a team is totally interdependent. By hiding a weakness, you are often creating another one.

If you develop the player, you will develop the team, and the by-product of that will be success on the field.

Parents and Your Developmental Mission

By making it clear to your parents in the Team Meeting that your primary responsibility is player development, and not winning, you will hopefully avoid parent comments like, “What’s he doing putting Sherry in defense, she can’t tackle!” It’s not just an uninformed comment, it’s a hurtful one. By thinking development first, you will take away the pressure of winning, which will allow you to focus on teaching.

This is a developmental league for parents too. Get your parents to shift their focus from results to the “developmental journey.”

Tell Your Parents What You’re Working on in Practice

For most parents, as long as their child is safe and having a good time, that’s enough for them. Other parents want to be much more involved. Keep parents in the loop by letting them know what you worked on in practice and what you’re looking for in the game.

If your practice focused on dribbling and shielding, you shouldn’t have parents complaining about passing. And if they do, it’s easy to say, “You’re right, they need to work on their passing. But right now we’re working on dribbling and our constructive criticisms should be limited to that.” 


The Brand New Player

For the brand new player, you will have to show them the following:

In Bounds/Out of Bounds

Create a rectangle (10 yds x 15 yds). Show them “inside” and “outside.” Be creative. “Fish in the water, Fish out of the water.” Repeat it several times. Now use the “official” words: “Fish in-bounds, Fish out of bounds.” However you do it, you want them to understand where the ball is played and where it isn’t.


Put scrimmage vests on half your time, or divide your team into “1’s and 2’s.” On a rectangle (20 yds x 30 yds), put all your 1’s on one goal line (end line) and all your 2’s on the other. Have them face each other. Put a parent in each goal.

Instruct your players that on the word “GO!” you want all the 1’s to run to Henri and all the 2’s to run to Alicia. You might do this the first couple of times without a ball, and then WITH a ball.

What is their soccer objective?

Once they know in and out of bounds and direction, now you give them the bottom line – if the 1’s have the ball, they want to shoot it into the 2’s goal. Make sure you make the distinction between the opponent’s goal and their own goal, or you’ll have kids shooting the ball in their own goals!

If the 2’s have the ball, they want to shoot it into the 1’s goal. The team with the most goals wins.

I have seen teams on game day place a flag on their goal to remind players which goal is theirs and which belongs to their opponent.

Basic Defense

If the other team has the ball, get it back! Challenge for the ball immediately! You want to teach your players that on defense, they want to be BETWEEN the ball and the goal.

Realistic Expectations

Do not expect spacing or passing. Do not expect players to ignore wrappers, sticks, mud, or gophers. Expect players wandering off, players shooting at the wrong goal, daisy chain necklaces being spontaneously constructed (possibly during a breakaway) – this is all age appropriate. Welcome to microsoccer. Enjoy!


At times you will see 1 + 1 and sometimes 1 v 1 (or 2 + 2 and 2 v 2, etc.). “+” means “cooperative play” and “v” means competitive play. For example, in a 1 + 1 defending exercise, the attacker will cooperate and let the defender get the ball. In 1 v 1, both players are competing to score.

Micro Field Sizes (approximate)

U5/6: 60’ x 80’

U7/8: 80’ x 100’

Practice 1/Theme: Dribbling:

Set up: Two Micro Sized Fields

Step I. Warm-Up/Stretch: Knock Out

Description: Players inside grid dribbling and protecting ball (shielding) from players who are trying to kick their balls out of grid.

  • Use half a field
  • Everyone with a ball in grid except 3 who are outside of grid (you can adjust the number)
  • On coach’s command, 3 “monsters” run into grid and try to “knock out” as many balls out of grid as possible. Once player’s ball is knocked out, player retrieves ball, does 10 step-ups on ball (hopping from one foot to other while non-weight bearing foot touches top of ball with sole of shoe), and then returns.
  • Give “monsters” :30 seconds. This is an intense exercise. If some players with ball are “hanging out,” you can make field smaller or add an additional monster.

Coaching Points:

  • Use inside of foot to dribble. Keep ball close to maintain possession.
  • Head up to see where they’re going so they don’t run into one another
  • Change direction/speed to get away
  • “Shield ball” by keeping body between ball and monster. Player will continually adjust body (in response to monster’s position) to keep body between ball and monster/defender
  • Stretch after every :30 (Quads, calves, hamstring, Achilles). Then pick 3 new monsters

The best way to stretch muscles is to warm them up first, which is why you don’t want your kids coming to the fields and immediately shooting. You are teaching kids the routine/importance of stretching, not because they need it now, but because they will need to stretch more and more as they get older.

Step II. Fun Game: Red Light/Green Light

Description: All players with ball on line. Coach is 25 to 30 yds away on opposite line. Can use width or length of field).

  1. Face players. Coach yells, “Green light!” then turns back to players. All players spring with ball. Coach yells, “Red light!” and immediately turns to face players. Players must stop.
  2. Any player still moving must go back to start point
  3. Winner is player who gets to end line coach is standing on
  4. Challenge listening skills by yelling “Red light!” when you would normally say “Green light!”

Teaching Points:

  • Use inside of foot
  • Keep ball close to body because they’ll have to stop it as soon as they hear command
  • Stop ball with sole of shoe
  • Teaching players the important skill of listening

Step III. Game With Goals: 1 v 1

1 v 1 is an efficient, excellent way to train both attacking and defending skills. It provides players with a lot of touches, technical challenges (dribbling, change of speed/direction, moves, defensive technique) and tactical decisions (how do I take this player on, how do I defend this player, etc.) A lot of this is subconscious, but 1 v 1 forces players to constantly think, evaluate, and re-evaluate. Teach your players how to set up their own 1 v 1 fields and it will save you a lot of time.

  1. Use on sideline/touchline as common boundary
  2. Line players up. Divide players into “1’s” and “2’s.” Each player gets two discs.
  3. Player “1” makes goal on common boundary (takes 1 big step to R and puts down disk, takes 1 big step to L and puts down disc)
  4. Player “2” takes 15 large steps and makes goal with discs opposite “1”
  5. All balls start with “1”
  6. On your command, “Go!” and play begins
  7. Score by dribbling through goal (don’t make goal too narrow)
  8. There are no sidelines, so make sure adjacent players set up far enough apart from each other (5 large steps?)
  9. Play for :45 seconds and then yell “Freeze! Switch!” Player with ball stays where he is, everyone else rotates. Explain the direction they will rotate to
  10. Wait until everyone is ready, then go again. See how they’re doing. But 5 times may be all they can handle
  11. If you have an uneven number of players, one player will always get a chance to rest/sit out or have them juggling while they’re waiting.

Step IV. Scrimmage With Conditions: Must dribble through goal to score

  • 2 Micro fields
  • Two 3 v 3 games, no goalkeepers, goals (flags) 4 yards apart
  • Condition: must dribble through goal in order to score
  • Extra players can work on individual skills or on 1 field you have 3 v 3 with 4 v 4 on the other field, or 4 v 3 on 1 field, etc.


Step V. Scrimmage: No Conditions

  • For U5/6: Two games of 3 v 3 (Goals 6’ apart)
  • For U7: Two games of 4 v 4 (Goals 10’ apart)
  • Enforce all restart plays (throw-ins, goal kicks, kick offs, penalty kicks, and corners)

Step VI. Cool Down: Crab Soccer

You can start out as the lone “crab,” or one or several of your parents can participate. The kids love it when parents get involved.

  1. Half field. Use width. If necessary, use less than half of field
  2. All kids with ball
  3. One adult or more on ground, propped up on hands and feet (butt off the ground).
  4. Players dribble past crabs to get to opposite end line
  5. Crabs (while moving like crabs) try to kick their balls out.
  6. If player’s ball is kicked out, they become a crab
  7. Last player with ball wins
  8. Safety Tip: Players with ball must dribble. They cannot “shoot it” past players and risk someone getting kicked in the face.

Practice 2/Game Day Rehearsal

This practice is essential for brand new players and valuable to experienced ones. The six-step format is modified.

Step I. Warm-Up/Stretch: Traffic Exchange

  1. Field Size: Half field. Use width. Go from sideline to sideline
  2. Divide team in half
  3. Half of team behind one touchline (sideline). Half behind the other. Players facing each other
  4. All players have ball. Doesn’t matter if teams are uneven
  5. On coach’s command, “GO!” teams sprint from one side to other
  6. Team that gets all its players to other side with balls stopped on line wins
  7. You can do best out of seven is players are willing
  8. Coaching points:
    • Players spread out for an unobstructed dribbling lane
    • Keep heads up so they don’t run into one another
    • As they start, they can push ball ahead and run to it. This is called “speed dribbling” and usually done with instep (but inside of foot will be fine). The point: You are faster running without the ball
    • As they approach touchline, keep ball close to them so they can stop in quickly
    • Stop ball with sole of shoe on line, or as close to line as possible
  9. Stretch every :30 seconds

Step II. Shadow Training (See “Shadow Training”)

If you need to work on your team shape, then this would be helpful – just a couple of minutes. However, if you need the time to scrimmage, defter to “game as the best teacher of all.”

Step III. Game Day Scrimmage

  1. Two games going simultaneously
  2. Ref on each field. Rules of micro enforced, including coin toss, kick-off, halftime, etc.
  • Have parent on each field handling substitutions
  1. Will you designate a specific person to take throw-ins and corners? (For corners and throw-ins on L side, the LM took them, opposite for R side. This kept game moving, rather than waiting for kids to argue who got to take the throw-in, etc.)
  2. Let different players take the kicks

Step IV. End of Game:

Players cheer for each other. Make this a team building game. Come up with your own unique cheer!



Practice 3/Theme: Defending

Step I. Warm-Up/Stretch: Knock Out

  1. Grid: Half micro field
  2. All players in grid with ball except two monsters. Players in grid begin dribbling.
  3. On coach’s command, two monsters enter and begin kicking balls out.
  4. If player’s ball kicked out of bounds, that player becomes a monster and starts kicking balls out. Play until all balls out.
  5. Stretch every :30 to :45 seconds, or at the end of each game

Step II. Fun Game: Numbers Game

  1. Grid: Half micro field using the width
  2. Set up goals about 12’ wide in middle
  3. Divide team in half, you’ll have two teams (for example) of 6
  4. Each player assigned a number between 1 and 6
  5. Teams get in the goal they are to protect and link arms
  6. Coach will call out a number, “Two!” and then roll a ball into the middle of the field
  7. Player “2” from each team will run out and complete for the ball and try to score
  8. Players in goal cannot use hands and must stay linked, keeping balls out of their goal by collectively using their feet and moving together
  9. Safety Rule: Shots on goal must be below the knee. If necessary, modify it to “all shots on goal must be in the ground.” 
  10. When goal is scored or ball goes out of bounds, coach throws in another ball and calls out another number, “4!”
  11. If uneven number of players, use that time for a coach to work one-on-one with a player on defending technique. If you don’t have help, then if only one team has a “Seven,” you’ll call out “Six and Seven!” so one team will have two players versus one.

Step III. Game With Goals (Defending): 1 + 1

If you’ve played 1 v 1 games already, you know how to set up. If not, look at Step III under Practice #1. 1 + 1, in this exercise, means the attacker (player with ball) will cooperate with the defender.

  • You will demonstrate proper defending technique first
  • Practice the technique below before you demonstrate so you are comfortable teaching it
  • 90% demonstrating. 10% talking.
  • Have players surround one of 1 v 1 “fields.” Make sure all can see.
  • Assistant coach in one goal with ball, defending coach in other
  • “I want to show you how to keep the other guy from scoring a goal!”
  • Demonstrate immediately
  • Assistant coach starts dribbling (walking) towards you
  • You sprint towards ball
  • Slow down within 15 feet of ball (you don’t want to overplay ball where defender runs right by it!)
  • Glide into defensive position: One leg in front of the other. Knees bent. Weight centered and on balls of feet
  • End up arm’s distance away from ball (about 3 feet)
  • Eyes focused on ball (not footwork)
  • Disrupt ball by poking at it with front foot (now keeping weight towards rear). This is called a “toe poke.”
  • Cooperative attacker will let you poke ball away. Defender pokes ball away, keeping one foot behind the other. Poke and shuffle backwards ready to boke ball away again. Attacker will get ball back after each time it’s poked away and continue to slowly dribble towards defender.
  • Do this 3 times
  • Now have your players do it 3 times then trade
  • Now attacker jogs with ball. Another 3 times each and move on to 1 v 1 and let players compete to score

Assistant coach takes half, and coach takes other half. If you’re alone, half your team can scrimmage or play a fun game like tag while you work with other half of defensive technique.

Step IV: Scrimmage With Conditions

  • Full Micro Field. Goals 12 to 15 feet wide.
  • Conditions:
    • Must dribble 5 times before passing
    • Score by dribbling through goals only. Dribbling conditions force attacker to hold onto ball longer, creating more defensive opportunities.)

Step V. Scrimmage. No Conditions

U5/6: 3 v 3. U7: 4 v 4

Step VI. Cool Down

Numbers Game (See Step II. This time, you can call more than one number at a time, like “1 and 3,” etc.

Practice 4/Theme: Passing

Step I. Warm-Up/Stretch: Sequential Passing

This is a warm-up to get them moving. We’ll deal with the proper technique to pass a ball in Step II.

  • Full micro field
  • Half of team in one grid, half in the other
  • Divide in 3’s (one group of 4 is fine, but for youngest, groups of 2 might be best)
  • Each player assigned a number
  • Dribbling in grid: 1 passes to 2. 2 passes to 3. 3 passes to 1, etc. It might help players to call their number. If #1 is about to pass, #2 calls out “Two!”
  • Use inside of the foot for shorter passes, use instep/laces for longer passes

Players need to be shown:

  • Maintain spacing (if players right on top of each other, there is no passing)
  • Pass and move to open space
  • Verbal Communication: Call for ball
  • Non-Verbal Communication: Use a hand signal, eye contact, nod of the head, etc. Example: Use extended right arm to show you want ball to your right

After players have learned correct passing technique and you play this game again, you will also be coaching:

  • Accuracy of pass (Pass is right to player if standing still or pass will lead player if person they’re passing to is moving)
  • Pacing of pass (not too hard, not too soft)
  • Creating/Maintaining open passing lanes
  • If passer and receiver cannot see each other, then the passing lane is blocked by a defender. Either player, or both, much move to create an open passing lane. Uneven keep away games are great to teach this skills (3 v 1)

Remember to stretch every :30 to :45 seconds

Step II A. Passing Technique

Below is the technical explanation for the coach. Your challenge will always be to teach the technical by demonstrating more, and talking less.

Gather players around two people who can demonstrate proper inside of foot passing technique. Stand relatively close together, about 20 feet apart. Give simple progressive explanations as you demonstrate. Make sure all players can see.

  • Non-kicking foot is placed to the side of the middle of the ball
  • Non-kicking foot pointed in direction you want ball to go in
  • Knee of non-kicking leg is slightly bent
  • Approach straight on
  • As you approach ball, look to see where you’re going to pass it (look up to see the other player), and then look at ball as you make contact
  • As you make contact, kicking foot is turned out a 90 degree angle, strike the middle of the ball with inside of foot.
  • Shoulders over the ball to keep ball on ground
  • Divide players in two, depending on ability, 5 to 10 yards apart. Have them pass back and forth for 5 minutes

Step II B. Fun Game/Soccer Bowling

  • Players divided into twos (group of 3 would work too)
  • Players stand 10 yards away from each other (less if too far). Place disc where they stand so they can maintain their distance
  • One player has a ball
  • In middle, place disc and a ball on top of disc (holds the ball)
  • Players will pass back and forth to each other and try to knock ball off of disc
  • Have players keep score. How many times did they knock ball off of disc?
  • Adjust distance accordingly. If too easy, move players further apart. Too difficult, move players closer together
  • Group of 3? One side has two players and they take turns or make triable with 3 balls (1 on each side of triangle

While kids are “bowling,” you and assistant coach walk around and make corrections. You won’t have time to get to everyone – probably only 4. It’s ok. You’ll get to everyone eventually. For those that really need extra help, look for times in a practice when you can pull kids out and give them 1-on-1 coaching.

Step III. Passing/Receiving/Moving

  • Divide team into 3’s (team of 4 is also fine)
  • 2 players on one side, (we’ll call them players “1” and “1”), one on the other (player “3”), facing each other, 10 yards apart (if team of 4, two players on each side)
  • Have single players on touchline (you may want to put a disc 10 yards away for the second group to stand at to help them maintain their distance)
  • Ball starts with the group of 2
  • 1 passes to 3 and runs/jogs to take 3’s place
  • 3 passes to 2 and runs to take 2’s place
  • 2 passes to 1 and so on
  • This gets everyone passing, receiving, and moving
  • 5 minutes

Step IV. Passing Game: Keep Away/3 v 1

  • 3 grids 10 yards x 10 yards
  • In each grid, 3 players against 1. Keep away
  • If uneven, make it 4 v 1.
  • 3 touch (or 4). Forces players to pass instead of dribble.
  • For every 3 completed passes, they get a point
  • If defender intercepts ball, he/she gives it back to attacking team
  • Change defender every 30 seconds!
  • 5 minutes

Step V A. 3 Touch Scrimmage

Teams get a point for scoring a goal or for completing 3 uninterrupted passes (like above). 5 minutes

Step V B. Scrimmage No Conditions

Let them play (finally!)

Step VI. Cool Down: “Star Wars” (Soccer Dodge Ball)

  • For youngest: Try 10 yds long x 5 yds wide grid
  • For older: 10 yds wide x 15 yds long
  • Players will run length, from one end to other
  • Coach on each side; one has a ball
  • Coach says, “Go!” All players run
  • Coach passes to other coach trying to hit player with ball
  • Any player hit with blal will become one of the passers on the side
  • Play until all players out
  • All passes must be on ground
  • If game too slow, make space smaller or use 2 balls
  • Why is it called “Star Wars?” No idea J

Inside of Foot Receiving Technique

Passing and Receiving – you can’t do one without the other. We’ve broken it up because some children will have difficulty just learning how to pass, so we don’t want to overwhelm them with both at the same time. After they’ve had time to work on passing, then it’s appropriate to introduce the correct receiving technique. This could be a separate practice.

  • As ball approaches, get in line with the ball
  • Shoulders square to the ball
  • Knees slightly bent
  • Legs shoulder width apart (or receiving foot can be behind non-receiving foot). Use inside of left or right foot to receive ball (depending on the foot ball goes to).
  • Receiving foot perpendicular to non-receiving foot (to present as much surface as possible). Toe slightly raised.
  • As you receive ball, bring receiving foot back with the ball to absorb energy of ball.

Receiving Ball Intermediate

Go to ball. Don’t wait for it. (A1=First attacker, player with ball. A2=Second attacker. D1=First defender)

  1. In 3’s. Player with ball (A1). Receiver (A2) 15 yards away with defender (D1) behind them
  2. As pass is made, A2 runs towards ball. D1 follows
  • A2, with back to A1, runs away from A1 then comes back to receive ball to create more space for A2. This is called a “check run.” Pass should be served as soon as A2 begins run back towards ball
  1. Before you get ball, look up and see where your teammates and opponents are. Is someone open for a pass, or would it be better to take the ball and dribble?

First Touch/Prep Pass to Yourself

  • As you receive ball (inside of foot), gently push it across your body on a diagonal and play it with your opposite foot
  • As you receive ball, gently push it to outside with outside of foot, and with second touch return it to partner with inside of same foot. 

Practice 5/Theme: Dribbling

Step I. Warm-Up/Stretch: Freeze Tag

  • Players in grid 10 yds x 10 yds (adjust accordingly) with balls
  • 3 players (or 4) out of grid
  • Taggers/Freezers chase players with balls
  • Player is “frozen” once they’re touched
  • Players are “unfrozen” when one of their teammates, as they continue to dribble, touches them
  • Game is over when everyone is “frozen”
  • Choose new “Freezers”
  • Stretch between games

Step II. Fun Game: Traffic Exchange

  • Grid 10 yds wide and 15 yds long. 12 foot goal on each goal line
  • Line players up. Make 2 equal teams. (If you have 10 players, make two teams of 5)
  • Team A has 5 players, number them 1 through 5. Same for Team B
  • Players stand between flags marking goal and lock arms
  • When coach calls out a number, for example “2!” the coach rolls a ball into the center of the field and both “2’s” enter the field and play 1 v 1
  • They shoot on goal to score. Shots must be below the knee
  • Goalies cannot use their hands, only their feet and they must keep their elbows locked
  • Variation: call out more than 1 number, but never more than 3!
  • Uneven sides: Have player sitting out pass the balls in and/or call the numbers

Step III. Game With 4 Goals: Must dribble through one of goals to score

  • 3 v 3
  • Grid 15 yds long x 10 yds long
  • Put a goal on 1 end of goal line and another goal at other end. Same on opposite goal. Make goals 12 ft. wide so players can dribble through them. If too easy, make them 8 feet wide!
  • One team attached one set of goals, and one team the other

Step IV. Scrimmage with Conditions

  • 3 v 3
  • Grid 20 yards wide x 30 yards (if you have the space)
  • You can only advance the ball if you dribble. Therefore, passes can only be square or back

Step V. Microscrimmage: No Conditions

Step VI. Cool Down: Numbers Game (Practice 3, Step II)



Practice 6/Theme: Passing

Step I. Warm-Up/Stretch: Nutmeg

  • All but 2 players in 10 yd x 10 yd grid with ball dribbling
  • After players start dribbling, the 2 players on outside enter and start kicking balls out
  • Player who ball was kicked out retrieves ball, re-enters grid, stands in middle, holds ball over their head with legs apart
  • For player to be “freed,” a teammate must kick a ball between player’s legs
  • Game over when everyone on inside of grid standing with balls over their heads
  • If you need more pressure, use 3 outside players

Step II. Fun Game: Keep Away 3 v 1

  • In grid 10 yds x 10 yds, 3 players try to keep ball away from the 1
  • 1 point for every 3 completed passes, to encourage them to pass instead of dribble
  • If players are dribbling too much, make it 2 points for 3 consecutive passes, or make it 3 touch
  • Defender get a point every time they steal the ball
  • Rotate defender every 30 seconds
  • Players need to pass and move to open space
  • Players away from ball must learn to take ball away from pressure to create time and space for him to make a successful pass
  • If defenders are having too much success, add an additional attacker and make it 4 v 1

Step III. Four Goal Game

Same as from Practice 5, Step III, but this time goals scored by shooting instead of dribbling through goals.

Step IV. Scrimmage With Conditions: 3 Touch

Step V. Scrimmage

Step VI. Cool Down: School Dodge Ball

  • Grid 5 yards x 5 yards (if you have good passers, make it bigger)
  • Half of team inside grid, no balls
  • Other half of team equally distanced around grid
  • Since this game can last forever if you don’t have good passers/aimers, you might want to start with as many as 4 balls
  • Players pass ball from one side of grid to other trying to hit players on the inside
  • Players on outside can pass to another outside player for a better “shot”
  • Passes/shots must be on the ground
  • If inside player touched by ball, they join outside players







Copyright Ian Clarke

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