Build the play in a small-sided game. By Rangers U19 coach Niamh Russell MORE
This fun practice for foundation phase players is a great introduction to running with the ball, dribbling and keeping their head up to find space.
It allows players to develop agility, balance, coordination and speed (ABCs), with and without the ball, and can introduce some ball mastery techniques too.
Set up an area relative to the age and ability of your players. Place various obstacles, such as poles and cones, around the area.
Four players are designated ‘catchers’ and start on each corner of the area. All other players start in the area with a ball each and a bib to tuck into their shorts as a ‘tail’.
The players in the middle of the area (‘the foxes’) start by dribbling around the area, avoiding the obstacles. The catchers start on the outside corners.
When the coach calls “catchers away”, the catchers complete a lap of the area. When they get back to the corner they started on, they can enter the area.
Catchers aim to steal the foxes’ tails and kick their ball out of the area. When the foxes lose both their tail and ball, they are out.
The last four foxes left in the area become the catchers on the next round.
Encourage players to keep their ball close to them with small touches using both feet. This helps promote good ball control.
Encourage players to scan (check their shoulder) for incoming catchers and to keep their head up to avoid other players and obstacles. When running with the ball, encourage players to take bigger touches.
For a greater challenge, coaches can introduce various ball mastery skills at different obstacles.
For example, at every blue cone they could do 10 toe-taps, or at every red cone they could do 10 sole rolls, or perform a Cruyff turn.
1. Set up a playing area relative to the age and ability of your players. Place cones and poles around the area as obstacles.
2. ’Foxes’ each have a ball and a bib tucked in as a ‘tail’.
3. ’Catchers’ aim to tackle the foxes and kick their ball out of the area, and also steal their tails.
4. Once just four foxes remain active, the game restarts and they become the next chasers.