One Goal Games

While I was planning my sessions for this week I thought about how lucky I am to have access to a wide variety of goals. My club trains at the Overland Park Soccer Complex which will host the 2010 US Youth Soccer National Championship. There are 12 lighted Tiger Turf fields that each have as many as eight different goals. Some are full sized, others are 6x3 and three other sizes in between.

I haven't always been this fortunate. Like most other coaches, I've had to get by with one goal more often than not. This isn't always a huge problem because most of the teams I have coached only had one goalkeeper on the roster. Playing a game to two large goals would mean that I would stick a field player in goal and he/she would miss out on an opportunity to play on the field.

Over my years of coaching I've been on the look out for small-sided games that only require one goal. Here are a couple of the games that I've used the most.

One Large Goal and Two Cone Goals
All of these games can be played with different numbers of players. I've used 5 v 5 plus the goalkeeper in my examples. You can alter this depending on which area of the game you want to focus on.

A goalkeeper and one team defend the large goal while the other team of five defend two small goals created with cones. What makes these goals different is that they set up perpendicular to the large goal. This prevents a player from taking a long shot at these goals and forces them to build up the attack through combination play or beating a defender 1 v 1. If they area around one of the goals becomes crowded, the attackers need to change the point of attack and try to score in the other small goal.

When either team scores, they change sides so that they have a chance to solve both of the scoring challenges.

4 v 4 + 4 Possession and Attack
This game focuses on fast attacking and finishing. The team that wins possession must pass to the the neutral players at least twice and can only attack the goal after a pass to one of the neutral players who is closest to the goal. This game rewards a team who maintains possession until it is the right time to attack. It also requires the attacking players to make forward runs when one of the neutral players closest to the goal receives the ball. This is a great game to play following a possession oriented practice.

Half 'Court' Game
This game is based on a half-court basketball game that many of us played as kids. The team with the ball attacks the goal and tries to score. If they are successful, they get the ball back at the half line and try to attack again. If the defending team wins the ball they have to possess it back to the half line before they can attack the goal. This simulates building out of the back and then attacking the goal. With younger or less accomplished teams I allow them to pass to me rather than take it all the way back to the half line. Then I pass to one of their players and they are allowed to attack.

What progressions can you add to these games? What games have you found success with when you only had access to one goal?

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