Risky Business

  • Author: Ian Knapp
  • Age Group: U9 to U12
  • Time: 20 minutes

This game allows the players plenty of decision making, whilst also being great fun. It involves 1v1 skills, team play, passing, overloads, defending (matched up and outnumbered), counter-attacking, shooting, goalkeeping... pretty much everything in fact! It's also a really competitive game, which the players tend to enjoy.

  • A small area (size dependent on age), with a goal at each end. Think of it as a mini-pitch. Goalkeeper in each goal.
  • Coach at the side on the "half way" line with 10 footballs.
  • Two teams of 6 players. One team (attackers) next to the coach, one team (defenders) split in half, with 3 players next to each goal.
  • Coach has a tactics board or sheet of paper with a menu of options for the attacking team to pick from, with each option worth a different number of points. See graphic, below for an example of the menu.

Basic Rules:

  • Attacking team decide which of the menu options they would like to choose.
  • Coach calls out the menu option (e.g "2v1") and the direction the players will attack (e.g "left").
  • Coach plays a ball into the middle.
  • The number of attacking players selected (in our example, two) run to the ball and attack the relevant goal.
  • The number of defending players selected (in our example, one) sprint out from next to the goal and try to defend.
  • If the attacking team score, they get the number of points that menu option was worth.
  • If the defender(s) win the ball, they can counter attack in the opposite goal to the one they are defending. If they score, they get the points instead.
  • If the attacking team score, the same players go again with a new ball played in by the coach, but this time they attack the other goal and the defender(s) come from behind that goal instead.
  • Defending players who come out to defend from each goal should rotate so everyone gets a fair turn.
  • Goalkeepers score 5 points for every save. They make up a team between them.
  • Once all 10 footballs are used up, the points are added up and the teams then switch roles.
  • After both teams have had a turn at each role, the game is finished and a winner is announced (either team or the goalkeeper team). Play further rounds if necessary.
  • Rotate goalkeepers in future rounds.

Coaching Points (FA's 4 Corners):
  • 1v1 attacking skills - use changes of direction and pace to beat your opponent.
  • Ball control / first touch. Weight and direction of first touch.
  • Encourage using left and right foot.
  • Tricks, feints, fakes and skills to beat opponent.
  • Shooting - technique and direction of shot. Can you get an early shot away?
  • Defensive - body shape, when to try and win the ball and when to stand off and block the route to goal, trying to force opponent to make a mistake.
  • Passing - direction, weight and type of pass.
  • Which runs to make to support your team mates or drag defenders away.
  • Counter attack when you win the ball - quickly.
  • Deciding which option to choose from the menu - what does the team need to do to win. Play safe or take risks - the other team will score points if they win the ball of you and score.
  • Communication (players at the side can help their team mates)
  • Decision making - when to dribble, when to pass, when to try and score.
  • Confidence to try again if a mistake is made and to try different things - different types of skill or shot.
  • Competitive element - how does this affect the different players? Winning / losing affects confidence.
  • Strength to hold off opposition players.
  • Agility and balance - to beat a player and to defend.
  • Speed - can we play quickly to get our opponent off balance
  • Encouraging others and not being negative
  • Communication
  • Have fun!