Moving the Ball in Lines

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Field size: defensive third of the field, working from the top of the penalty box to the half way line

Number of players: 4 working players

Age range: 14-16

Description: With a stop watch, time your defenders to see how fast they can move the ball from one end of the back line to the other, from outside back to center the backs and then back to the other outside fullback. 

Later, add in a defender to pressure the defensive back line who’s trying to switch the ball. Even add in two small goals at each end on the half way line and the defensive line tries to pass the ball through the cones to a midfielder on the other side of the cones. 

The main goal is for the defensive line to move the ball as fast as they can, in one or two touches from one side of the field to the other.  Time the players and see how fast they can connect ten passes or how many times they can switch the ball in a set period of time. 

Setup restrictions, as in the left back can’t play a long ball across the field directly to the right back – and throughout the drill the ball must be played on the ground.  This same drill can be done with the midfielders. See what their time is compared to the defensive line. 

Try bringing in the goalkeeper when working on swinging the ball from one side to the other with the defenders. There will be moments in the game when your team will use your keeper to switch the ball, so you can add the keeper into the equation, too.  Whether the keeper is using his or her feet or hands or both.

Equipment needed: Cones and practice vests.

Train your soccer team to stick to the passing game when the pressure is on, courtesy of this drill from the Nike Academy’s assistant coach, Matt Wells.


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