Practice design: two-goal 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 two-goal games.
In two-goal games, players are tasked with defending one goal and attacking the other. It's the game that everyone knows and loves.
They’re really quick and easy to set up. If you have existing pitch lines where you train, use them to create an area. Then you just need some goals – grab your nets, cones or even a few jumpers.

Another benefit of two-goal games is that they feel like 'real' football. By having a goal at each end of the pitch, you create a matchday dynamic. This gives players the chance to practice key skills – such as pressing and finding space – in a realistic context.

Two-goal games can also help you achieve specific learning objectives. Given their simple design, it's easy to implement constraints that encourage players to focus on a specific aim.

For example, imagine you want to your team to work on their ability to press. You could set them a task to win the ball back in the opposition's half. To inspire them to do this, every time they do win the ball back in their opponents' half, and score, you reward them with three goals, rather than one.

This way, without them thinking about it, they have an incentive to work on your learning objective.

Top tips for designing two-goal games:

  • As long as there’s a goal at each end, the pitch doesn’t have to be perfect, so try to involve the players in setting up.
  • Maximise constraints that reward and motivate players.
  • Minimise constraints that restrict their freedom to play.
  • Consider using a tournament format. For example, instead of playing one long game for 20 minutes, play three seven-minute games.
  • If the players are loving it, keep playing!

Watch the video below to see an example of a two-goal game that Pete Sturgess, FA national 5-11 lead, uses in his session.

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Two-goal game

Be sure to adapt the practice by applying the ‘STEP’ framework to increase or decrease the challenge for your players. This can also be used to help exaggerate, replicate or modify the games to ensure certain decisions or skills are amplified to help their development.


If you want to discover more ideas for your sessions, check out our article on line ball games.


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