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3v3 + Sideline Bumpers


Field Setup: Set up a small-sided pitch with a goal at each end. Along each sideline, designate an area for the sideline bumpers – these are neutral players who will always support the team in possession, turning the game into a 5v3 in favor of the attacking team.

Teams: Create two teams of three players each. Additionally, select players to act as sideline bumpers, ensuring they understand their neutral role and are positioned on both sides of the pitch.

Activity: This is a straightforward 3v3 game with the added twist of sideline bumpers. The bumpers are to play the ball back to the team that passed to them, providing a numerical advantage to the team in possession. The game’s objective is to score goals, but the use of bumpers encourages smart possession and width. Rotate sideline bumpers regularly to ensure all players experience different roles in the game.

Coaching Principles

The main principle in this activity is effective support play from sideline bumpers. These players provide additional passing options to the team in possession, encouraging width in the attack and offering a reliable outlet to maintain possession under pressure.

Coaching Points

Instruct sideline bumpers to be active along their line, moving up and down to provide the best support angle. They should anticipate where the ball will be and position themselves accordingly, always offering an option to the player in possession.

Encourage players to utilize sideline bumpers early, especially under pressure. A quick pass to a bumper can relieve defensive pressure and reset the attack. Teach players to recognize when to play wide and when to progress forward.

Use sideline bumpers as pivot points for changing the point of attack. This encourages players to think laterally and not just vertically, promoting a more expansive style of play.

Variations & Progressions

Introduce a rule where a team must play the ball to a sideline bumper before attempting to score, ensuring that teams use the bumpers effectively in their buildup play.

Allow sideline bumpers to dribble down the line and even take shots at goal, which can lead to unexpected scoring opportunities and create a more challenging defensive scenario for the three opposing players.

To increase the difficulty, limit the number of touches a sideline bumper can take before passing, which will require quicker decision-making and sharper play.