Alternative Practice Activities and Games

Friday, July 22, 2016

Practice Activities and Games from Other Sports

Coaches are often looking for more practice activities and drills to add some variety to their programs. As most coaches are general sports fans, they often use examples from other sports or analogies in their coaching.

Here are a few drills, based on principles from other sports, which can be used to develop football skills, and elements of play.

All practice activities should be relevant to your game plan, or in the words of Stan Alves, “You do this because it could happen in a game”. Your normal (expected) principles of play, team rules (non-negotiables) should apply at all times.



AIM: For players to develop their execution of different types of kicks that may be used in a game scenario. Ie kicking directly to a player or into space for a player to run onto

WHEN TO USE: Most suitable as a drill to use in the middle of a main session


3 Groups

3 types of kicks to leads

Low and sharp = 3 iron                 group 3 → 1
Long medium height = 5 iron      group 1 → 2
High Kick = wedge                         group 2 → 3


Could potentially add a 4th group – dribble kick (putt)


- Lead hard when it’s your time to go
- Kicker to hit target on the move with each type of kick
- Team rules apply e.g. ball movement, play-on, follow on, etc.



WHEN TO USE: Most suitable as a warm-up or rotational activity

AIM: For players to learn and gain more confidence in their own ability to control unpredictable ball bounce


- 2 players 20m apart
- The pitch is 4m wide
- A player kicks the ball along the ground toward their opponent
- The kick can be as difficult as possible to control, e.g. End-over-end, half-volleys, or “leg breaks”
- The opponent is given “bowled out” if:
a) The ball gets past them
b) They move more than 1 metre in any direction in an attempt to control the ball
- The winner is the first player to “bowl out” their opponent 3 times
- Any ball that is outside the 4 metre wide pitch or bounces higher than the opponent’s reach is declared a “no ball”
- Rotate players to compete against new opponents


a) The receiver should:
i. Look solely at the ball – control the ball with their eyes
ii. Widen their body with legs spread either side of the ball path and arms wide to the sides – this produces a wider control area
iii. Use “2 touch” ball control if the bounce is unpredictable – one touch to the control the ball, another touch to gain possession. The first touch can be made with parts of the body other than the hands.

b) If the bounce is unpredictable “one touch” ball handling can be used, however :
i. Don’t grasp at the ball (there is no handle on it!)
ii. Control the ball from underneath (under its centre of gravity) – “lift” the ball up, don’t “pick” it up



AIM: For players to watch the ball closely into their hands. Take the ball early in front of the face. Also teaches players awareness

WHEN TO USE: Most suitable as a warm-up or rotational activity


- In groups of 5 players positioned about 1-2m from the kicker
- One player is positioned out the front who kicks the ball in any direction to a group of players who are positioned in a horse shoe formation
- The kicker can experiment with different types of kicks, pace, height
- Aim is to mark the ball and not let it get behind
- Ensure that the kicker out the front is rotated and that every member in the group gets to experience both the kicking and the marking



- Encourage players to take the ball early out in front of their face, using their full reach 
- Focus on players gaining the ability to take the ball cleanly with one grab



AIM: Players to work as a team to ensure mark is taken

WHEN TO USE: Most suitable as a warm-up or rotational activity


- 20+ players / 1 football / 2 teams of 10+
- Team X starts by kicking the ball into the area of team 0. The aim is for the ball to land on the ground on the opponents side
- The game goes back and forth like a rally in tennis. It is all kicking
- If the ball hits the ground, it is 15-0 to the side that kicked it
- The scoring is the same as tennis, first team to 6 games wins
- Have a time limit if it is a stalemate



- Encourage players to vary their kicks to put pressure on the marking side (Flat kicks, hard/soft, experiment with the shape)
- Marking team need to communicate and instruct each other to avoid players colliding



AIM: Players to familiarise themselves with foot shape and foot control, as well as encourage players to keep ball low

WHEN TO USE: Most suitable as a fun activity to do close to the end of the session


- 10+ players (2 teams) / 1 football
- Playing field can vary according to numbers and learning attention. A good size might be a 15m by 15m grid
- Rules are the same as soccer. Goal keeper can mark the ball but must drop kick the ball back into play
- Drop kicks are used for corners
- Place kicks are used for sideline returns
- No tackling allowed




- Show players how these skills could be used un a game scenario (particularly in wet conditions)
- Sharing the ball in tight spaces

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