By Matt Carroll –
This activity has two parts, one is a competitive game with conditioning elements, the other is a conditioning drill with technical elements. It is a great game to play to improve the soccer-specific fitness of your players, but also the competitive drive of your team.
The game starts off with balls and the coaches at the D. The players line up on the end line at the point of each side of the 18. You can use one goalie, or alternate goalies every turn. Off to the side, away from the 18, there should be some type of age-specific technical/conditioning circuit set up. It should include ball work as well as agility work. This can be whatever the coach desires, but it should be something players will be able to repeat for the length of the entire game. A coach should be designated to this area to instruct, but also to monitor, and possibly limit player’s workloads.
The game starts when the coach throws a ball anywhere into the 18 and the first player in each line then rushes onto the field to attempt to score. If one player is more technically gifted maybe you throw the ball to the less gifted player to challenge the other. Even strength players can have the dropped in the dead center.
If the ball goes out, either it leaves the 18 or the shot is blocked or saved, both players retreat to the back of the line. You can vary this as well and make it that both players are sent to the conditioning circuit, and then just reset the drill until there is a winner as well. If a goal is scored, the scorer “stays on ”and goes to the back of the line. The loser goes over to the conditioning circuit until there is only one remaining player.
By Matt Carroll