Panna / Street Soccer

I think this video is THE example of why I’m absolutely loving watching Panna/Street Soccer videos on YouTube at the moment.

If you haven’t been checking out this stuff (and I know I’m a bit late to the party) check out some of this stuff on youtube.

  • Jeand Doest
  • Sean Garnier
  • Panna Knockout
  • Soccer Showdown

Then read this post.

Btw, Panna = Dutch for nutmeg ūüėČ

Nutmegs – U9 Warm Up

I’ve suddenly become really fascinated with the whole world of Panna / Street Soccer and have spent the last few days watching a lot of videos on YouTube about it*. One of the street soccer videos showed kids playing 1v1 and to score they had to nutmeg their opposing player which is great, because you’re focussing them on keeping the ball close and looking constantly for that opportunity to stick the ball through his/her opponents leg.

This reminded also reminded me of a session I saw in a Futsal Introduction course run by the Oxon FA. However, in that session the tutor divided a court in to squares and we played 1v1 but you scored a point if you could bounce the ball off your opponents shins which also meant you had to keep the ball very close to you at all times.

I wanted to see how our U9s reacted to this type of challenge. We’ve done a lot of work with them on the ball but I think games such as this represent a different type of challenge because you’re really focussed on keeping the ball close as opposed to a session where you might be dribbling at pace in a direction (as might be typical in a session).

Therefore, before Saturday’s game I set up a 15×15 square area and got the boys in to pairs (approx 6 pairs of players) and ¬†let them play 1v1 with the following rules:

  • Game 1 (before changing partners): 1 point for a nutmeg, first to 3 the winner
  • Game 2 (change of partner): 1 point for a stepover (beating the player) 2 points for a nutmeg
  • Game 3 (change of partner): 1 point for a stepover, 2 points for a nutmeg, 3 points for a 360 (round the world)
  • Game 4 (change of partner): Use any skill to beat a player

The players responded well – we just kept them going, praised, encouraged and observed. They worked hard to keep the ball under control and we trying various ways to attempt nutmegs. I introduced the other moves to open up other ways in which to beat a player and not restrict to looking for a nutmeg.

As the players enjoyed it I’m going to look to do more of this type of work in our training sessions whilst introducing specific skill/technique practice and further variations of 1v1, especially introducing music to sessions as I think that’s a great way of relaxing the players and making sessions even more fun for them. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t immediately feel 10% more skillful if you play football with this in the background!?


*Thanks to the guys on Twitter at ProSkills who provided useful information on Street Soccer. If interested, check out these guys on YouTube –¬†Darren Laver, Mark Tiernan & Soufani.

Simple session on 1v1, 2v2 and defending

I used a really simple session with our U9s tonight as I wanted to start working on a few basics of defending but I was also aware of the weather and wanted to keep them moving at all times. With this in mind I went with a setup (see low quality image below) which meant we worked on the basis of continuous 1v1s which allows for lots of dribbling & experimenting with skills on an attacking point and with the setup it also had the boys thinking about defending space as they had two goals in which they could score.

The setup:

  • 8 players
  • 2 “zones”
  • 4 goals in each zone
  • 1v1 – players had to run through the goal and stop the ball to score a point



How I managed / progressed the session:

  • Began with 1v1s, the only conditions were that you had to stop the ball between the goal posts to score a point and I wanted to see LOTS of skills used. I¬†always encourage players to learn new tricks and practice them.
  • Players rotated partners / opponent every 3-4 minutes, new partner = new challenges (both as an attacker and defender)
  • I stepped in to encourage dribbling at speed as young players can end up walking quite slowly with the ball and I wanted the attacking players to be positive and ensure they introduce a turn of pace
  • I then worked on defensive positioning and I worked on their body shape. That is, “skateboard” position, defending side on. I provided an example and then had the players try it unopposed to make sure they could actually do sidesteps moving backward
  • We then continued the 1v1s but with the focus almost completely on the defenders body position, which they picked up pretty well and almost immediately found it effective
  • We continued to rotate players, I praised where I saw excellent defending side on and I also helped players work on changing their positioning – e.g. not facing the same way at all times and being able to rotate as the attacking player moved
  • The session then progressed to 2v2s, but with a slightly longer pitch area. Again, focus was on defending position but it also gave opportunities to coach where two defenders were leaving a player free or not doing any defending at all.
  • Further rotation of 2v2 and then the session ended in a game

Very simple, very easy to progress, continuous dribbling and 1v1, 2v2 defending practice with focus on defending in a side-on body shape. Good session, enjoyed by players and very little time spent standing around listening to me!


Learning New Tricks

I watched the video below on Friday night having seen it on someone’s Twitter feed and as I hadn’t seen the second trick I watched the video a couple of times and thought nothing more of it.

Skip forward to Saturday morning and I’m with our U9s for a fixture they had away from home. We only had 7 players so before the game they were doing little 1v1 dribbling games, a couple of the boys were passing it between themselves (their choice) and I was messing about with one or two others (we were trying to nutmeg each other,¬†practising¬†scoop flicks etc – their choice) and as they started playing a little game on their own I decided to practice the second skill from STR’s video.

Having tried it around 10-15 times with mixed success (easier with a size 5 ball than size 4 I found!) one or two came over and asked how to do it, so I demonstrated what I’d seen on the video and they spent 5 minutes¬†practising¬†it before the game.

At half-time I noticed the same two practising it again and then a third joined in and they had a little try. They didn’t have much success and I hadn’t purposely shown them the skill as it’s a¬†show-boat¬†trick, not something that you’d use during a game, but I love their willingness to try a new trick and keep trying it & I can guarantee they’ll want to try it again at training on Wednesday.

It makes you realise that even if you’re not a very¬†skilful¬†player (which I’m not), you could take a trick from such a site, practise it yourself and introduce it to your players for them to try. If you know how to break it down you can show them what they need to do, you don’t have to master it.

Is it critical to their development to learn a trick that’s essentially a¬†show-boat¬† Probably not. Does it help them develop their mastery of the football? Absolutely, so it’s got to be a good thing and another way to vary training sessions.