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.


About Simon
Grassroots Football Coach

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