Field Setup: Mark a large square or rectangular grid that allows ample space for players to dribble and maneuver. The size should be proportional to the number of players to ensure there is a balance between having enough room to dribble and the challenge of avoiding the “stealer.”
Teams: Assign one player as the “stealer” (blue) and the rest as dribblers (green). Each dribbler starts with a ball at their feet within the grid. If you have a large group, you can create multiple grids or have multiple “stealers.”
Activity: Green players dribble within the grid, focusing on keeping control of their ball. The blue player attempts to steal a ball from any green player. Once successful, the blue player becomes a dribbler, and the green player who lost the ball becomes the new “stealer.” A player who loses their ball cannot immediately steal back from the player who just stole from them, ensuring constant movement and involvement from all participants.
With your youngest most beginner players you can start this game with the coach being the stealer so you can control the level of opposition and pressure.
Variations & Progressions
Make your playing grid bigger or smaller or change the shape to give a different challenge to the players, Typically smaller to make it more difficult and larger to make it easier.
When the player without the ball steals someones ball they will dribble or pass to the ball to the coach. They will then be joined by the person who they stole the ball from and there will now be 2 players going to steal other players balls. When they steal a ball they dribble or pass to the coach and more stealers are added to the game. The game continues until no one has a ball left.
Challenge the players with the ball to see if they can visit all four corners of the playing grid without loosing the ball. Player must dribble to a corner cone or marker stop keep the ball there for 2 seconds before going to the next corner.
Have players start on the outsides of the playing grid. They must keep the ball and can only dribble from one side of the grid to the other. You will have two sets of players going in different directions to add additional obstacles and confusion to the activity. Each set of players get a pint everytime they make it across the grid.
The primary focus is on dribbling skills, particularly maintaining close control, changing direction effectively, and shielding the ball from opponents. Players must also develop their awareness, constantly scanning the grid to locate the “stealer” and other dribblers, to protect their ball and navigate safely within the playing area.
Stress the importance of keeping the ball close, using both the inside and outside of the foot for control. Players should practice touches of varying pace – gentle when close to the “stealer” and firmer when accelerating into open space.
Encourage players to continuously scan the area, not just for the “stealer” but also to be aware of other dribblers, which helps in avoiding collisions and understanding when to change direction.
Guide players on how to effectively use body feints and changes in speed to evade the “stealer.” They should be trained to switch direction swiftly using different turning techniques like the inside hook, outside hook, and the Cruyff turn.
Instruct players on the art of shielding the ball. They should use their body to keep the ball away from the “stealer,” putting their body between the ball and the opponent, and using their arms and legs to maintain a barrier.