Playing in Three Zones

Field size: 90 yards by 60

Number of players: nine versus nine with three players in each zone

Age range: 14-16

Description: Move goals up to the penalty boxes so you can play penalty box to penalty box with the width going out to the standard sidelines (60 yards wide). Play 9 versus 9 with three players in each grid or zones: attacking third, midfield section and then defensive third, about 30 yards for each zone.  Players have to stay in their zones. 

Later, you can let players go into other grids after making a certain number of passes or let one additional player go into the grid – say just the player who made the pass.  The drill gets groups working together and thinking about how they have to time their passes into the other grid.  Put in a rule where players can’t bypass one grid, but the ball must move from the back line to the midfield to the forwards.

Start out playing unlimited and then move to two touches. Creating the three zones actually gives players more room to operate and then don’t have to worry about another player coming into their area. The drill helps players get accustomed their playing area and their role in the team. Groups area playing three versus three, so they have to move the ball quickly. If the drill is too difficult for your team, then add one free player into the midfield or defensive area. Players can play the ball in and out of zones, even if they don’t move into the zone. The idea is to bring draw defenders away from the space you want to play the ball into.

Equipment needed: Cones and practice vests.