Scrimmaging at Soccer Practice
A Better Way to Scrimmage
Keep the Soccer Field Short
Small Sided Scrimmage Without a Goalie
Why scrimmaging isn't a good way to practice soccer

(Below is my reply to a letter from a Rec coach who was scrimmaging on an oversized field).

Hi, This is David at SoccerHelp.

Here's an idea for how to easily create a smaller field and to increase the fun.

Use 4 cones to make 2 sets of "Goals" (5 to 7 steps apart) and put a "Scoring Cone" in front of each goal, about 7 to10 steps from the goal (so you need a total of at least 6 cones, but more if you want to make sidelines).

The rules are:

  1. No Goalies

  2. Goals only count if the shot was "Clearly" taken within an imaginary line defined by the Scoring Cone (if you aren't sure it was inside the Scoring Cone, no goal is scored)

  3. Goals only count if they were inside the cones that substitute for the Goal posts

  4. Goals only count if the shot was roughly head height or lower (about 6' or lower), OR you can even require that the shots be on the ground if you want

These are basically the rules from the "Small Sided Scrimmage Without a Goalie" practice game.

This game is easy to set up and fun. It forces players and teams to work the ball in for a shot instead of taking long shots and since there isn't a Goalie it forces all players to learn to defend and to block shots with their body. It's a great way to see who is a natural, brave defender.

The shorter fields are more fun and you get a lot more transitions, so it's valuable in teaching transitions. I would MUCH rather play with cones as described above on a short "field" than on too large a field.

You might want to put out a few cones to mark sidelines to keep teams from just kicking the ball away and so you can get some practice in Throw-ins... this will make your scrimmage more realistic and avoid those situations that can occur when a kid takes off to an area that would clearly be out of bounds with another kid chasing him and everyone else stands there watching for several minutes. That's cute once, but quickly gets tiresome, and it breaks the flow of the game. Also, the sidelines prevent players from just kicking the ball away without being penalized for it.

If you scrimmage by dividing your team in half so part of your players are playing against others on your team, you need to be sure your players are playing as they would in a real match, and not goofing off or playing at 75% of speed � if players practice slow, they will play slow.

For those reading this, let me point out that there are several articles about soccer scrimmaging on Premium, but as you know, scrimmaging isn't an efficient way to Rec coaches to practice because players don't get enough touches on the ball, players tend to repeat the same bad habits, and the best players tend to dominate and the weak players (who need the most touches on the ball) tend to get the fewest touches on the ball. Practice Games are more efficient and effective.

David at SoccerHelp