Ages: U8 and up. You could try it with U6, but I would add another ball to keep things flowing.
- 30 x 40 yards (W x L).
- Depending on your numbers and available space, make the field as big as you can (use existing field lines to help).
Activity and Set up:
- Make 4 cone goals (one in each corner of the field). Goals should be approximately 6-7 yards wide (bigger goals = greater opportunities for success).
- Let teams play against each other – even numbers. No goalkeepers.
- For a goal to count, it must pass between the cones on the ground.
- This game encourages players to start thinking about the “weak side” and to switch the ball out of pressure.
Guided Discovery Questions:
- On offense, do we want to make the field bigger or smaller? (Bigger). How do we do this? Show me.
- Do we have a better chance of scoring if we play slow or if we play fast? (Fast). Why?
- Which goal should we always look to score in? Why? (the one with the fewest defenders around it).
- What can you say to your teammate if you want her to pass you the ball on the other side of the field? (Switch).
After 5-10 minutes of playing, consider layering in the following progressions:
- Put in a halfway line and mandate that all attacking players must be in the attacking half for a goal to count (this discourages goaltending/hanging back).
- Add a neutral(s) to ensure the attacking team is always numbers up.
- Put touch restrictions on the players (do not restrict them to fewer than 3 touches) whereby if someone takes too many touches, it results in a free kick to the other team.
- First time finish (goal may only be scored off a first time shot).
- Transition – when a team scores at one end, it must now immediately transition and try and score at the other end of the field (the side they were just defending). Thus, when a team scores, both teams now shoot in the opposite goals. This helps to naturally rotate your players between offense and defense.
I would love to hear from all of you about the use of Guided Discovery for this activity (and others). How are you using it? Are there questions that get better answers? How effective are you find it? Remember, the best Guided Discovery questions in youth soccer will contain the answer!