More Creative Small Sided Games

A few weeks ago I wrote ‘Creative Small Sided Games’ ( ) and in that I spoke about how I have challenged myself to do sessions and not use the word ‘Pass’ at all although still encouraging the players to pass the ball.

Basically after I wrote the blog I challenged myself again to come up with a completely new way to do the same thing.

I have to give credit where it is due for this one because I think the original idea came from Ian Dipper (@dipandswerve) which is well worth following in my opinion. I didn’t see this game when it was posted but a friend of mine told me about. This is what sparked off my train of thought when I remembered this game.

Noughts and Crosses#2

Basically the players play a modified game of Noughts and Crosses which is just a wonderfully simple way to engage the players. This is what started me off on ways to adapt this type of thinking.

– We played normal Noughts and Crosses but with my variation you could only have a turn if your team scored a goal. However I put conditions on the games such as 3 or more players had to touch the ball in the build to the goal – the goal had to be scored with one touch finish – the opposition choose one player from your team and they had to set up the goal.

– I even ran this with 2 small sided games going side by side (Reds v Blues on both pitches) so that if the Reds or Blues from either pitch scored a goal that  met the conditions they could have a turn on the single game of Noughts and Crosses.

The players really enjoyed it and passing was encouraged without ever mentioning the word ‘Pass’. The players were so engaged in getting another turn to win the Noughts and Crosses Game that they passed without thinking that the session was about passing.

– This got me thinking that maybe we could do something similar with a word game so I did something similar were I again put a condition on what type of goal had to be scored.  However this time the scorer could come up and guess a letter for a word that was a famous football team.

Word Game#2

Again this really engaged the players and we were able to add other conditions such as only goals counted with a one touch finish with ‘other foot’ – goal had to be set up with a one touch assist – there had to be 3 players touch the ball in the last 5 seconds before the goal was scored.

I am in a terrific situation to try out new ideas as I do so many sessions a week which helped with tweaking some of the conditions. I had really good success with both Noughts and Crosses and the Word Game and would definitely recommend other Coaches giving them a try. The best success was with players U8-U10 though it worked fine with both younger and slightly older players. The older players were too good at guessing the famous football teams though and this meant the games were quite short.

The point of this blog is that with some creative thinking there are lots of ways to do the same thing differently.

Please leave a comment or email me

Or possible leave a comment on Twitter @SeanDArcy66

Till next time

3 thoughts on “More Creative Small Sided Games

  1. Hello, I’ve been directed to your blogs by @ImSporticus and I’m finding them really helpful. I’m giving a talk on children and creativity at an FA conference next weekend, and will be directing the coaches to your site. Thank you! Sue.


  2. Pingback: A Tactical Games Approach session in Rugby | drowningintheshallow

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