Number 12 in our series on the favorite excercises of college coaches come from Mike Calabretta. Coach Calabretta is the assistant women’s soccer coach at Georgetown Unviersity. In addition to his NSCAA Premier Diloma and USSF B license, Calabretta holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Management from the University of Maryland and is completing his master’s degree in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University. The following is his favorite activity:
Here is a game that my players love (rough diagram is attached). It can be used for technical speed of play purposes, while also incorporating longer grid service and lots of finishing in tight spaces.
Field & Equipment:
Two full-size goals facing back to back
Width of field comes 5-7 yards off of each post (18-22 yards total), depending on the age and ability of players
Length of field is 50-60 yards, depending on the age and ability of players (I usually don’t go longer than 50 yards)
4-5 balls on each endline
4-5 balls with Coach at midfield
7 Orange, 7 Yellow, 2 Blue (GK) pinnies
Number of Players:
7vs7 (adjust game and field space according to numbers)
2 Goalkeepers
1 Coach serving balls into grid
Rules of the Game:
Each team starts with 5 field players in their own half and 2 servers on the opposite side (one active and one on-deck)
Team #1 active server plays ball over top goals to any teammate that must strike the ball first time out of the air
As soon as the ball is struck, two defenders from Team #2 cross over to defend
A. If Team #1 scores off the serve, they receive a point and coach immediately plays second ball into Team #1, who play 5v2 and must connect at least (2,3,5 etc.) passes before going to goal
B. If GK saves, Team #2 scores and coach immediately plays second ball into Team #1, who play 5v2 and must connect at least (2,3,5 etc.) passes before going to goal
C. If Team #1 misses target completely off the serve, or ball goes out of bounds, no second ball is played and Team #2 now serves
D. If Team #2 wins second ball from Team #1, they must find Coach to end round

Game is played to 15, with each team able to score a maximum of two goals per attacking round and one per defending round if GK saves first ball off service
After each attacking round, one field player becomes on-deck server, on-deck server becomes active server, and active server moves on to field.

Progressions and Notes:
The more possession you want in the grid, the greater the number of passes teams must complete before scoring
If you’re working on finishing, you can have less number of passes to encourage lots of repetition
For more advanced players, you can set restrictions on the foot they must serve with or type of flighted ball (dead leg, driven, clipped, etc)
If younger players struggle to get quality service in, they can take a forward touch (not to be defended) into the grid to get closer
You can play 5v3 or tighten the field up if the game becomes too easy
You can play one or two touch for attacking team
You can give 2 points if they score with a header off of first ball from server
Ultimately, with my players, we get to a one or two-touch game 5v3 with 3 passes before going to goal on the second ball from Coach. The players love it, you can work on a number of important attacking concepts, and it’s very competitive.
(video is best if viewed in ful scren mode)


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