Quite by accident I have managed to come up with a game that I think has exciting potential to be used in a number of ways. It is a small sided game but I will outline the roundabout way the game evolved.
A few years ago I was doing a session with young players I think they were U6/U7s. I was playing games of 2 v 2 with small portable goals. One player every time the ball came near him would just kick it as hard as he could. The ball would go in all directions there was no thought to it just a big kick. Unfortunately for me on this day he managed to score 2 goals in this manner so I was having no joy whatsoever trying to encourage him to control the ball. I had a brain wave and turned the goals around so they were backwards which meant it was now impossible to score with a fortuitous big kick from the other end of the pitch.
Immediately I noticed now that the players all ran with the ball much more to get around the goal and score. I was delighted and have managed to use backwards goals for a variety of purposes over the last few years since (check this blog out http://wp.me/p5aQfW-2S ).
With younger players (up to 11ish) I have used it often as an alternative to playing variations of Line Football (were the players score by running the ball over the Endline). The younger players tend to have little patience with a game where they cannot actually kick a goal so this is one of my alternatives for them.
It is challenging for the players as they have to turn at speed while keeping control of the ball to score. It provides lots of decision making such as which way do I turn, how tight is the defender (or are they still there), is the goal open, do I pass etc etc.
One of the drawbacks was that when a player had run the ball into a position to turn and shoot the defender tracking them would regularly leave the player and simply defend the goal. This meant that the turn wasn’t always executed with a defender close so an opportunity was regularly getting missed to practice a technique under pressure.
A fortnight ago I had a lightbulb moment and decided to combine this backwards goal game with Line Football. Now the attacker has 2 ways to score
1 – In the goal facing backwards
2 – Running the ball over the endline. I added that a defender only has to tag the attacker as they go over the endline and it isn’t a goal.
I have since done it in 3 sessions with U8s, U9s and a U10/U11 group. So far it has solved the problem of the defender leaving the attacker to turn and just defend the goal.
However, what has really grabbed my attention is that without losing anything this change has added some interesting decision making for both the defender and the attacker.
At first thought, unintentionally this game looks like it has potential to practice a player’s decision making in crossing situations because both the player and defender have to consider.
- Is there enough space to continue running forward to get success?
- What happens if the player with the ball changes direction?
- What happens if the player disguises to change direction/continue forward then does the opposite?
It is very much early days as I have only done it 3 times with this one but I feel it is an exciting addition and wonder what I will be able to use it for in the future. Would be very interested to hear form other Coaches who have already done this or similar and what techniques they use the game to work on.
Look forward to hearing from you
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Till next time