Numbers Game

By Jebreel Bubtana

This exercise works very well to provide a fun training environment for your players whilst ensuring that they are working on their endurance and reaction time.

Set up the field as shown below in figure 1. Two goalkeepers are needed then split your group of players into two teams and have the players’ number themselves (this is based on how many players are on each team, in the diagram below, the players would be numbered 1-3). In order to keep the players working hard continuously, ensure that you have plenty of soccer balls with you.

Article 17 Numbers Game - 1

With the players lined up either side of the coach, the ball is thrown or passed into the middle of the area and at the same time the coach shouts out a number 1-3. For example, if the coach shouts out number 1 as the ball is passed into the middle of the area then number 1 from both teams sprint out as quick as they can to battle for the ball and try to score past either goalkeeper. As mentioned previously, it is very important that the coach has a number of balls with them to keep this exercise continuous.

Article 17 Numbers Game - 2

Coaching points:

  • The players must be focused and react to the ball quickly and be strong in the tackle. Much like winning the first or second ball in a real game.
  • The players must be aware of where they are in the area as they can score in either goal.


The exercise remains pretty much the same but now as soon as the players hear their number, they must sprint around the tall cone in front of them before battling for the ball to try and score.

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Article 17 Numbers Game - 3

Another slight variation is that the coach can designate which goal each team can score in. The coach can be creative with this drill; for example, you can get the players to do some kind of agility through cones as soon as they hear their number before battling for the ball.

Jebreel Bubtana
Director of Marketing
BRASA – Brazilian Soccer Academy
NSCAA Advanced National Diploma
NSCAA Director of Coaching Diploma
Follow me on Twitter @jib1989

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