A Ball For Everyone

  • Author: Ian Knapp
  • Age Group: U7 to U9
  • Time: 15 minutes

This type of setup is a great way to start your session when coaching younger players. Your players will be getting lots and lots of touches, working on their ball control, spacial awareness, awareness of others players around them, turning, some simple skills and so on. Their focus at this age is the ball, so giving them one of their own is a great way to engage them with the practice and there are bags of variations on this that you can introduce. 

  • Rectangular area - size dependent on numbers.
  • Each player is given their own ball
  • Optional cones set up as "gates" that players can dribble through

Basic Rules:

  • Each player dribbles their ball around the area.
  • Coach encourages players to try different things - turns, simple tricks, stopping the ball, toe taps, dribbling the ball through the gates and so on... this can be through a command based style, where the coach calls out "turn" for example and everyone has to try a turn or by just giving players the freedom to express themselves by trying things as and when they feel comfortable.

Progressions & Variations:
  • One ball between two with passing (1 point every time you pass through a gate)
  • Some of the players become defenders who try to win the ball off the others and either pass the ball out of the square or keep possession, with the player who lost the ball then becoming a defender
  • A further progression is the traffic lights practice that we've included here...

Coaching Points (FA's 4 Corners):
  • Keep the ball close to you
  • Using different parts of the foot to control the ball
  • Left and right foot
  • Turning with the ball
  • Tricks
  • Passing
  • Tackling
  • Decision making
  • Awareness of players around you (easy to bump into others!)
  • Don't worry about mistakes or if you're finding things hard - all part of learning
  • Can you "try" new things and take risks?
  • Be confident and positive!
  • Changes of direction
  • Changes of pace (speed up, slow down)
  • Encouraging others and not being negative
  • Communication when passing (call for the ball)
  • Have fun!