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Sharks and Minnows

Focus of the drill

The drill is aimed at U5-U8 players and teaches the players how to dribble out of pressure. The main focus of the drill is to help players better understand how to protect the ball using their body to shield it from the defender. The players will learn how to use better close control by being challenged for the ball. This drill also helps players develop their dribbling skills.

Drill Setup

Create a grid of approximately 20X25 yards the size of the field should be adapted in accordance with the skill level and number of players taking part in the exercise. Every player has one ball at their feet, except for the two sharks.

Sharks & Minnows

How to play?

The goal is to protect the ball from the two Sharks. The Minnows dribble the ball around the designated area, and the Sharks attempt to steal the ball off the Minnows and knock it out of the playing area. Once the ball has been knocked out, the Minnow can then return to the game after completing a run around the playing area. The Minnows are only allowed to do this twice, and must therefore wait on the side-line once the ball has been knocked out a third time. The last two Minnows left in the game become the Sharks for the next round.

Different Versions

Make players run more than one lap around the playing area before returning to the game.

Players only allowed to use the left foot to dribble.

Players only allowed to use outside of feet to dribble.

Players can only use sole of feet to dribble the ball.

Coaching Tips

Help players focus on keeping calm while under pressure from Sharks, try to emphasize not to panic when sharks get near them. This helps a lot in game situations when put under pressure by the opponent. Make sure to tell the players that it is important to keep the ball close to their feet in order to have the chance to react quickly when Sharks pressure them. Close control and shielding are the most important parts of this exercise.

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