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1v1 In A Box


Field Setup: Mark out a single, large grid that will serve as the playing area for all participating pairs. The dimensions should be such that multiple 1v1 games can occur simultaneously without too much interference, yet still challenging players to be aware of their surroundings beyond their immediate 1v1 matchup.

Teams: Players are paired up, ideally matching them by similar skill levels. Each pair consists of one player with a ball (the attacker) and one player without (the defender). All pairs will be playing inside the same large grid at the same time.

Activity: Within the grid, each attacking player’s goal is to keep possession of the ball away from their defending partner while navigating the space shared with other pairs. The defender’s objective is to win the ball. If the defender succeeds, they become the attacker and must keep the ball away from their partner. Play continues for a set amount of time, and whoever has the ball when time expires scores a point for that round.


Coaching Principles

The primary principle of this activity is spatial awareness and ball control under pressure. Players must not only focus on maintaining possession against their defender but also be cognizant of the other pairs in the grid, using quick dribbling and shielding techniques to navigate through traffic.

Variations & Progressions

Switch up your partner match ups every couple fo rounds so players get to play against different players and players all get to play against their friends. Pay attentions to the match ups so you can start to pair players that are similar abilities.

Change where the players who have the ball start and where their partners start in this one they start on the halfway line between the home zones. The players with the ball need to try and dribble away into their home zone to start before their partner steal the ball.

In this variation the blue players start with the ball on the halfway line between the two home zones but they are facing their partner. The challenge is to turn quickly with the ball and get away into their home zone befoer their partner steals the ball.

Players start with the ball in their own home zone but their partner is starting right behind them. Can the play shield the ball and then dribble into space?

Coaching Points

Encourage players to be constantly aware of their surroundings, including the position of other pairs, to effectively navigate the crowded space while maintaining possession.

Educate players on recognizing the right moments to dribble. When they see open space or can exploit a defender’s poor positioning, they should take the opportunity to advance the ball forward. Encourage them to be confident in their dribbling but also to be aware of the risk and reward based on their position on the field and the proximity of other players.

Players must understand when to turn away from pressure. If a defender is approaching head-on or from an angle that allows for a turn, instruct players to use their body to shield the ball as they pivot. This can be a quick turn to the side, a drag back, or a more complex skill move depending on the situation and the player’s ability.

  • Teach players the nuances of using their body to protect the ball. When closely marked and with limited space to dribble or turn, players should learn to position their body between the ball and the opponent. They should use their arms to feel for the defender’s location and use their lower body strength to hold off challenges. This skill is crucial when waiting for an opportunity to turn, pass to a teammate, or when simply running down the clock towards the end of a round.