Arrr, me hearties! It’s Treasure Island


This fun warm-up introduces young players to the ABCs (agility, balance, co-ordination and speed), as it incorporates running, sprinting, changing direction and hand-eye co-ordination.



Players are separated into equal teams. We’ve set up with four teams of two, but it can easily be adapted for four teams of three or five teams of two etc.

A ‘treasure island’ is set up in the middle of the playing area, with as many balls as possible. Players (or ‘pirates’) start around the outside of the playing area, with each team allocated a ‘pirate ship’ area.



Pirates are given an allotted time (say, 40 seconds) to run to the treasure island and pick up one piece of ‘treasure’ (a ball). Pirates must then take the collected treasure back to their pirate ship by bouncing the ball back (like a basketball). The next pirate will then go and collect treasure.



The game will help players develop ABCs and introduce them to working with a football, whether in their hands (initially) or at their feet. Coaches can introduce concepts of dribbling or running with the ball, for example by encouraging players to take as many touches as possible (perhaps with both feet or as many different parts of their feet), or take as few touches as possible, as they bring the treasure back to their pirate ship.



Pirates who are comfortable with the ball can dribble the ball back to the ship.

Pirates who may be less comfortable with the ball can run with the ball in their hands back to the pirate ship.



Once the allotted time has expired, the pirates return to their pirate ships. In the next part of Treasure Island, pirates will steal treasure from other ships.

Again, pirates are given an allotted time to run to other ships and steal treasure.

They must then take the treasure back to their ship (either carrying, bouncing or dribbling). The next pirate will then go and collect treasure and so on.

Initially, pirates aren’t allowed to defend the treasure, but this could be a progression depending on the ability of the group.

1. Create four ‘pirate ships’, with two ‘pirates’ standing in each.

2. Set up a ‘treasure island’ filled with balls for the pirates to steal, one from each ship at a time – either by running with the ball, or bouncing or carrying the ball.

3. Once all treasure has been taken from the island to the ships, progress the game to allow pirates to steal treasure from other ships – more advanced groups can be encouraged to defend their treasure.

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