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1v1 Keep The Ball - Teams

Set Up

These are a few of the standard set ups we use for this activity. Vary your size and shape based on the number of players you have and their ability level. We tend not to make the space for this activity too big as that tends to encourage more running or kicking and chasing the ball.


Separate your players into balanced teams with an even number of players on each team. 

* Balanced teams means that they are as even in ability level as you can make them. If all your players are of an equal ability level it is easy, if you have varying ability levels within your group make sure you put an equal number of each ability players you have on each team.

One team starts with a ball inside the grid the other team starts without a ball on the outside of the grid.

The objective of the exercise if for the team of players who did not have a soccer ball to start to win a ball from one of the players that has a ball and then keep it away from them. Players who have a ball at the end of 60 seconds score a point for their team, the team with the most points wins. 

Players can not steal a ball from a player on their team only from a player on the other team

One rule is that if you dribble the ball outside of the zone you must give the ball to the player who forced you out of the zone, this simulates what happens in a game.



A few variations you can use are below, simply change the starting position around your grid of the team without the ball. See if the players with the ball adjust their starting positions, this will give the players with the balls a different perspective and challenge.

A simple progression for this activity is to go from two teams of 6 to the four teams of 3. This will add a little more chaos inside your zone and also force players to be scanning/looking around more to see where the team that they are playing against are.

You can vary your rules so that Yellow can only take a ball from Black while Red can only take from Blue and vice versa. Or you can do a rotation where Yellow can only take a ball from Black, Black can only take a ball form Blue, Blue can only take from Red and Red can only take from Yellow

Coaching Points

Objectives - Coaching Points

    • Try to avoid having two players without a ball trying to go win a ball from the same player with a ball.
    • Show players how to shield/hide the ball when they run out of space and get near to the edges of the zone.
    • Show the player how to shield/hide the ball and look over their shoulder to see when the defender is behind them and turn away from the defender so as not to show them the ball.
    • Show players how to turn away from the defender keeping their body between the defender and the ball rather than turning into the defender and showing them the ball.
    • Encourage players who have a ball to dribble to the space furthest from the players on the other team.

Coaching Questions

Q. What happens when two players without a ball try and go win the ball from the same player?

A. Only one player can get the ball and it leaves one of the other team with a ball under NO pressure.

Q. How do you decide who you are going to try and steal a ball from?

A. Chose the closest player with a ball to you that does not already have one of your team mates trying to steal the ball. Look around and see who has a ball on their own.


  • Adjust your grid and make it bigger when you have more players and for lower ability players. Adjust your zone and make it smaller for less players or higher ability players.
  • Adjust how long you play the game based on age and ability. Shorter time and more rounds for younger and lesser ability players.
  • You can also make your zone smaller to increase the difficulty or to promote more shielding and changes of direction as there will not be as much room to dribble to evade the defender trying to take your ball.
  • Allow players to go to the corners but they must face into the zone if they have no pressure on them.
  • Make players have to keep the ball moving and rolling at all times when they have no defender pressuring them this will stop them hiding in the corners.