FineSoccer Drill 79 - Shape and Balance
Here is an activity that could be considered a continuation of the exercises described in FineSoccer Drill 76. It works on space and balance as well as finishing, defense, goalkeeping and goalkeeping conditioning as well as many other things.
Split the field into vertical thirds with an 8 yard wide goal (made with cones) at the center of each zone (see the diagram below).
This game is best with 7 a side or greater (11 a side works great if you have the numbers) and if you have 3 keepers it is wonderful but two works well also). The field should be full sized for 11 a side and only slightly smaller for less numbers.
You play a regular game of soccer. If a ball is dribbled through any of the three goals at midfield, it's worth one point each time. If a ball is PASSED through any of these goals and received by a teammate it's worth two points. A goal scored into the regular goal (at the end of the field, remember we are still playing a regular soccer game here) is worth 5 points. A team can score as many points at a center goal as they want and a point can be scored going in either direction (young players will get caught up going back and forth through the side goals for points so it becomes important to remind them that the ultimate goal is to score in the real goal). There should be a keeper in each of the regular goals.
This game will encourage teams to stay spread out offensively and will also encourage them to try to compress the field defensively (it's hard to be chasing from side to side in defense when the attacking team simply has to play a long switching ball to get either one or two points).
If you are fortunate to have three keepers, two keepers play in the regular goals and the third keeper is responsible for the goals on the midfield line. Any time a regular goal is scored (the five point goals) the keeper who gets scored on switches with the keeper in the middle. This should encourage the keepers to do whatever they can to not let in goals because the keeper in the middle is responsible for three goals in both directions. This will require a great deal of conditioning on the keepers parts but again, they need to know how important it is to NOT give up goals in a game.
This game can be played for time (for example it could be a 20 minute game) or it could be played to a certain score (first one to 20 wins). It works on so many important facets of the game that I think if you give it a try, you will soon find yourself using this game (and variations of us) frequently throughout the season.
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