By Tara Barratt
This grassroots drill starts simply, with a focus on keeping possession, before building on this to utilise wide players and create goalscoring opportunities. The only equipment you need is a ball, a set of bibs, a set of flat disc markers to mark out a central square area (cones are sufficient if you don’t have these) and two goals facing each other on either side of the central square area (small, if possible, but this is not essential).
Phase 1: Keep Possession
Split your group of players into two teams. All players start in the central square area that has been marked out. Both teams should try to win and retain possession of the ball. Keep it competitive by telling your players that once you reach a certain number of passes (suggest five or ten, depending on ability) you win a point. Make the drill more challenging by putting a limit on the amount of touches a player can make (suggest a three-touch maximum).
Phase 2: Introduce Wide Players
One player from each team becomes a neutral receiver on the wide areas of the marked-out area. The remaining players trying to keep possession within the square area can utilise either of these wide players while trying to reach their target number of passes. The wide players need to pass back to whichever team passes to them.
Phase 3: Introduce Goals
Now when a team reaches their target number of passes, they should look to get the ball to one of the wide players. When the wide players receive the ball, they break away towards one of the two goals. One player from the team who passed to the neutral receiver also breaks out of the central square to support the attack, while two players from the defending team break out to try and stop a goal.
How to Adapt the Grassroots Drill
- Modify the size of the square area depending on how many players you have.
- If you have an odd number of players, you can add a neutral player within the square area who is working with whichever team has possession.
- Keep switching out the wide players (and the neutral player within the square area if you have an odd number) so that players rotate roles.