A lot of these games are great for U6 also. The games that will go over best with the 4, 5 and 6 year olds will be the games where every player has a ball and the focus is on movement and direction as opposed to activities where players are paired up or having to wait their turn to play.
- Players each have a ball (or can work in pairs with U7 and U8 age groups). Players bring their ball to the coach who them throws the ball out and asks them to bring the ball back with specific body parts (ie. shoulders, head, feet, 3 elbows—for pairs, etc.). Coach can ask players what other ways they can bring the ball back to get them involved and excited about this game. They are working on problem solving, balance and coordination.
- Hospital Tag—set up “hospital areas” (one in each corner of the 20x20 yard grid). Each player has a ball they must keep with them. They are trying to tag other players arms. When a player is tagged, they must hold their tagged arm across their chest. When both arms are tagged, they must go to the hospital and perform a required task before re-entering the game. The task can change every round (ie. 10 fundamentals, aka tick tocks, or 5 toe taps, etc.). After 4-5 minutes ask everyone how many times they went to the hospital. The next round challenge players to do better than the last game and go to the hospital less times than before.
- Freeze Tag—Every player has a ball in a 20x20 yard grid, except for 25% of your players that are the taggers and are without a ball. Give the taggers a 2 minute challenge to freeze everyone in that time to win. Players with a ball can unfreeze their teammates by passing the ball between their frozen teammate’s legs. Frozen players can stand frozen and be expected to communicate to their teammates who are trying to unfreeze everyone else, or they can be actively doing toe taps or any other task while waiting to be unfrozen. Players can come up with the task each round. Talk about shielding the ball and playing with their head up so they can see the field and their teammates.
- Dutch Brick Game AKA MINECRAFT—Divide the 20x20 yard grid into two sides. There are two teams and one ball. You can progress to two balls if the group is bigger and you need more players involved. Set up either 3 tall cones in each half or 3 disc cones with balls balanced on top of them. Teams are trying to knock down the bricks on the other teams house, so they can steal them and bring them back to their house to build their fortress. They can put those stolen bricks anywhere on their house (their half of the field) that they want. A team wins when they have all the bricks.
- Side to Side Training Session
U9 and Older Games:
Many of the same games that the younger groups play can be adjusted for the older teams. The grid size might need to be made bigger and the time allotment can be lengthened.
- Dutch Diamond Passing Pattern—cones set up in a diamond formation with a cone in the middle (about 15 yards apart from the middle cone). Player with a ball passes to another player on the middle cone and makes a run to receive the ball back, then plays the ball to the next cone around the diamond and then that player checks in to the ball and takes their first touch towards the next cone in succession and dribbles to that cone with the ball. The process begins again as that player plays the ball to the player at the middle cone. Players rotate to the next cone by following their pass or dribbling. Players in the middle can be rotated out by the coach when needed. Players are working on passing, turning with the ball, give and gos, and communication.
- Invaders—Divide 20x30 yard grid into two sides with an 8 yard goal in the middle of the two sides (this goal can be marked with two poles or two cones). There are two teams that are each defending a base (one of the sides). There is one ball, and the team in possession is trying to get 3 consecutive passes so they can shoot on the goal. Both teams are divided into 2 defensive teams, so when the other team has the ball in their base, the other team will send over one of their defensive teams to get the ball back, creating a two to one odds for the team in possession. If the defensive team wins the ball back, they try to send the ball back to their base up the sides of the grid (not through the goal). Depending on numbers, a player or the coach can play goal keeper. If the goal keeper catches the ball they would throw the ball to opposite base that shot it. This game can go on for 20 minutes without players tiring of it. This game is best to coach in the flow of the game with occasional stops for showing them how much space they maybe aren’t using, how to spread out the defense, or be aware of where their teammates are so they can pass faster. Encourage them to talk to each other and make less coaching comments as they do.
- Give and Go Game—20x20 yard grid, but bigger with more or older players. Two teams of 3-4 players with one ball. Make a couple grids if necessary to get all players involved. Give them 3-5 minutes to get as many points as possible. Teams can only get a point by completing a give and go around a player from the other team. Encourage players to move to receive the ball back after they pass because that is the only way they will be able to get a point. Talk about space and creating passing lanes as they move. Lots of communication among teammates is necessary.
- The Circle Session