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Human goalposts

    Ryan Davies, FA physical education officer, shares a fun activity that helps players work on scanning, communication and movement. This practice also tests shooting accuracy and technique.

    Key objectives

    Players will develop their understanding of:

    • how scanning informs timing and movement
    • passing or shooting while on the move
    • effective communication and teamwork with a partner.

    Human goalposts

    A session graphic showing six players on the blue team and 12 players on the yellow team, all within a rectangular area. The players on the blue team have a ball each. While the yellow team are in pairs, acting as human goalposts by holding a stick between them to act as the crossbar.

    Session plan

    Want to try this with your team? Download the session plan and give it a go.

    Organisation

    Set up an area that's appropriate for your players' age and developmental stage.

    For this practice, we have 18 players – split into two teams. The first team has six players, each with their own ball. These are the 'goalscorers'. The second team contains 12 players who pair up to create 'human goalposts'. You can adjust these numbers to suit your group.

    Each pair of human goalposts needs to hold a 'crossbar'. A bib or a stick would work.

    How to play

    The aim of the goalscorers is to score as frequently as possible. To get a goal, they must pass or shoot through the human goalposts. To make this difficult, each pair of goalposts can move around within the area you’ve created.

    Set a time limit for the activity, and then rotate your players. This gives them a chance to play for both teams.

    Progression

    If your players master your activity – or find it too hard – try adding a progression. Possible options include:

    • using a different size ball
    • changing the shape of your playing area
    • increasing the sense of competition (e.g. ask players to note the goals they score)
    • adding a constraint that encourages shooting accuracy (e.g. a goal doesn’t count if the ball goes out of play).

    But remember, learning takes time. So don’t alter your activity too quickly – or too much. Try using the STEP framework (Youth Sports Trust, 2002). This helps keep things fun, engaging and appropriate.

    QUESTIONS

    After you’ve looked at the session above, ask yourself the following questions:

    • How would you adapt the practice to make it appropriate to your players?
    • What extra challenges could you set to make the activity easier or harder?

    Plan to use this with your team? Let us know how you get on by posting in the England Football community forums.


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