What are your best fun practices?


I coach an U8 girls team.

Although I feel pressure from parents and other coaches to actively "teach", I much prefer sessions that are just fun.

My question for other coaches is - what drills/games/ssg's do you have in your back pocket that you can pull out and know the players absolutely love?

  • 1v1 matches like a panna always go down well, you can turn it into a completion if the girls are keen.

  • Sharks - players run from one end of an area to the other, shark in the middle has to tackle them to get the ball, If they are tackled, they become shark for next round. Repeat until only one left - the winner. In other words british bulldogs.Teaches them to run with the ball, shield the ball, beat opponents ,change pace, tackle etc.

  • You can teach through games, keep it fun, and develop team and players.. There are 1,000s of game that can be created, depending on what you are trying to develop within a team: confedence on the ball - 1v1, 2v1, 1v2 etc. games. Passing, vision - more inside/outside/through games. Some of my favorites: capture the flag, river run, through the forest, through the zones, Tic-tac-toe. 

  • Hi Stephen

    Have you thought of asking the girls what they want to do? Set up a pitch or several with a target/goal at each end, give them the balls, cones and discs and see what they come up with. They can make the rules scoring etc. Once they have started suggest adding some skills into it or challenges but don't take over. Be excited, enthused and amazed by what they do or come up with.

    Any form of tag with balls or other equipment.

    Themes are great. Find out what they like away from football such as films, books etc and make that into a game. If they are active, smiling and don't want to go home then you are winning.

    How many times at school do they get asked 'what do you want to do today kids?' And don't forget about what it was like to be a child and why you love the game.

  • King of the Ring but call it Fortnite. Standard rules for KotR but the playing area shrinks at regular intervals to represent what happens with the "storm " in the game. If you want to avoid them standing around after they get knocked out, they can complete a skill challenge and "respawn " back into the playing area. I'd make the skill challenging though, otherwise the game will never end!

  • Football to Music: Always goes down well with female players and is a great way to connect as well as create a vibrant atmosphere. Play a SSG / match to music with the scoring team getting to choose the next song etc.

    Handball – Football: Play alternate handball-to-football interchanging each time the ball goes out-of-play.

    Less is More: When playing games; use small sided formats (1v1, 2v2 up to 5v5) as this is what is traditionally played at these age groups to allow them greater contact time on the ball.

    Matt :-)

  • Thanks for all the suggestions :-)
    Some of them I use and they are fun, but I like the little changes - like making king of the ring a game of fortnite (we call it queen of the ring!), and being able to get back in the game after doing a skill. I also like the idea of including music - I think that will go down well.

    We have training tonight, and I think we're going to do the sharks game, followed by the coconut game (if anyone knows that one - it always goes down well). Then we may just play 2 games of 3v3, depending on numbers.

    Steve :-)

  • Well, there's a bit of queuing, so this may be frowned upon, but I think it's offset by the fun.

    You split the players into teams of no more than 4 players (I find 3 to be optimum).

    Each team has a "lane" as long as is appropriate for age/ability. Players line up at one end of their lane, and at the far end you balance 3 balls on top of 3 cones.

    Players in a team take it in turns to shoot at the balls, the object being to knock them off their cones. Once a player has taken a shot, they must run to retrieve the ball they are shooting with and dribble it back to their next team mate so they can have their turn.

    The winning team is the one to knock all 3 balls off first.

    To progress, play the game again, but this time have 5 cones, 3 of them with balls on. If a player knocks a ball off they are allowed to place it onto an opposing teams cone. This really heats up the competition!

    There are several variations of this game, but this is the one I've found players enjoy the most.

  • Steve

    It does sound fun. To perhaps avoid the queuing you could have a ssg and line the coconuts up on the goal line (maybe 3). Have an exclusion zone where the players cannot kick their ball from at the coconuts (say 3 yards). To score the team has to knock over a coconut. The winners are the team that knocks over all their coconuts first or the ones who have most left if you run out of time. Just a thought.