Practice design: target games

All Ages

Unsure where to start when designing practices? In a series of articles, we examine five games that can help you engage and develop your players during training. Here, we look at target games.
In target games, players are tasked with taking or passing the ball to a target. Possible targets include a player, zone or box. Once the ball reaches the target, players are awarded a point or a goal – depending on your scoring system. This type of game is often used to work on the principles and technical components of attacking. For example, helping players combine creatively, use their movement to find space, receive the ball and penetrate the defence.

However, as with all game-related practices, the outcomes will also be dependent on the design, scoring system and challenges that you use.

Simple steps to create a target game:

  • Identify your outcome – what is it that you want the players to get better at?
  • Based on the outcome, decide on your target area (zone, box or a player) and how many there will be.
  • Decide whether the game will be directional or multi-directional.
  • Define your scoring system – what do the team in possession need to do to score and how many points will they get?
  • Outline some challenges for the opposition – how can they make it difficult for the team in possession to score?
  • Consider what other rules you might need to explain to the players before they start.

During your planning process, it’s important to consider your player’s needs as you create the relevant game conditions to challenge everyone accordingly.

Always remember that the ‘STEP’ framework is a useful tool in adapting your practice to meet the specific needs of individuals, units or the team.

Watch the video below to see how Suey Smith, FA coach development officer, uses target games with her players.

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Target games

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