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Mastering the ball: DNA challenges

    Introduce some of the key elements of the England DNA by organising a small-sided game and setting challenges for your players.

    Key objectives

    Set up an area which is appropriate for the age and abilities of your players and play a small-sided game, such as 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4.

    A session plan graphic showing a small-sided game taking place.

    How to play

    Encourage your players to stay on the ball and to be exciting by asking them to:

    • try to score themselves
    • try to help someone else score
    • dribble at different speeds and in different directions.

    It’s important to explain that staying on the ball is about looking for positive attacking things to do - this involves, shooting, running with the ball, dribbling, turning and shielding.

    And then explain that staying on the ball isn’t:

    • dribbling until you lose the ball
    • being ball greedy
    • never looking to pass.


    To learn more about Foundation Phase DNA, click here.


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