Designing fun exercises at youth levels at youth level is not an easy task, particularly when the objectives are teaching technique, learning competition, and making every minute enjoyable for the players. This week we will take a look at three exercises that coaches can use with their players at the U6 to U8 ages. If you enjoy the sessions, you can also check out the new MSC eBook now: 20 Fun Training Games at U6-U8. Each one of the games involves ball familiarity, skill and technical practice, plus an element of competition and fun. When youth environments are set up with a strong foundation of learning and enjoyment, there becomes a much greater opportunity for players to fall in love with the beautiful game.
Below is the MSC Breakdown episode discussing the exercises. Don't forget to subscribe to the MSC YouTube page.
Below you can find the breakdown of the exercises discussed in the video.
Exercise One: Bumper Cars
This game takes place inside a 25x25 area, which has four 5-yard zones in each corner. All players start with a ball with six dribblers (in red) and three defenders (in green).
The objective is for the dribblers to dribble their ball into as many goals as possible, while protecting it from the defenders. Dribblers cannot go into the same goal twice in a row.
Defenders are using their ball to ‘bump’ into the dribbler’s ball and delay them from scoring in the goals.
If the defender successfully ‘bumps’ a dribbler’s ball, they lose one point each time.
Exercise Two: Dribble and Shoot Competition!
This game takes place inside a 20x20 yard area, which has a 5-yard zone on each side with a supply of balls.
The objective of the game is for the first player on each team to run out diagonally to the zone with the balls. They then dribble a ball out of the zone and look to score in the mini-goal. The first team to get all of the balls in the goal wins.
Right foot only finish
Left foot only finish
1v1 move before the finish
Exercise Three: Dribble, Pass, 1v1!!
This game takes place inside a 15x20 yard area, which is split into three zones. Players are split into two teams with a ball each. A coach stays in the central zone with a ball also.
The objective is for one player on each team to start at the same time, dribble around the cones and then turn and pass the ball at the target ball on their side. They get one point if they hit the target ball (positioned on top of a cone).
After the pass at the target, both players then go into the middle and play a 1v1 game where the coach designates which team shoots into a specific goal. After the 1v1 game, the next pair go.
Teams can switch sides after each round so they get practice on passing with both feet.