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Pass or Dribble? 5-11 year olds


Staff member
Mar 6, 2018
Warm up - 20 mins

Duration: 20 mins
Equipment: Cones, bibs, balls
Players: 12
Set up
Mark out a 40x40 ft box with the cones.
How to play
8 players have a ball each inside the area, and they can dribble around inside it using different parts of the foot to touch the ball and different skills (drag backs, Cruyff turns, reversed drag back, etc) too.
There are 4 players on the outside of the area who do not have a ball and are free to move around the outside of the area.
Players inside the box are free to pass to the outer players. If they pass to an outer player, then the outer player has to pass back. Players really have to concentrate and look up before picking a pass.
Why use this warm up session?
It allows the players to start thinking about whether to pass or dribble, while allowing them to be creative. It’s a fun warm up routine which gets the players’ heart rate going too.
How it links to the England DNA:
In possession – staying on the ball
  • Promotes creativity
  • Promotes confidence on the ball
Practice - Pass or Dribble?


Duration: 30 mins
  • 2 goals (one with a goal keeper, the other by the coach without a keeper)
  • Cones
  • Bibs
  • Bag of size 3 balls or 4 depending on age group of players
  • Set the zones up as per the diagram
Set up
  • 40x60ft area
  • One goalkeeper in goal
  • One defender in zone one
  • One defender in zone two
  • 6-8 attackers in their chosen pairs
How to play
One coach is positioned in the middle of the attackers and in front of the open goal with a selection of balls.
The coach always starts with the ball and passes to one of the attackers who can then dribble or pass to the corresponding attacker.
Attackers have to then progress towards the goal making the decision to pass or dribble, and once at the goal, making the decision to shoot.
Defenders have to try and tackle when the ball is in their zone. If they win the ball they then have to break with speed to try and score in the ‘empty’ goal.
Defenders are not allowed to leave their zone UNLESS they win the ball - they must quickly progress to score in the other goal.
Session Format
  • Focus on the attackers making decisions with the ball
  • Focus on the attackers making decisions when not on the ball (where to stand, in space, support)
  • Focus on defenders making the right decision when to tackle and when to hold
  • Focus on defenders breaking with speed

Why use this session?
This session gives the players the chance to make their own decisions, so there’s no right or wrong decision. Its a fun session which allows the players to express themselves and be creative following the warm up.
Coaching points
Allow the players to begin the session with just the basic instructions and allow the players to have a go.
After a couple of pairs have been through then I prefer to put in some coaching points like:
  • Should I run to the person I’ve just passed too? Allow the players to answer.
  • Where should I run? Into space or behind a defender? Again let the players answer.
  • When should I make my pass, when my partners in space or being marked?
  • Should I wait for the defender to come to me?
  • What should my decision be if i have lots of space in front of me? Pass or dribble?
Then working on the defenders....
  • Should I charge in and dive in to try and win the ball?
  • How should I stand, face on or side on?
  • Should I get low, like a crab?
  • What am I watching - the player or the ball?
There’s plenty of questions to ask the players and this session works by allowing the players to tell you the answers to work it out themselves.

How it links to the England DNA:
In possession

  • Retain the ball
  • Be creative
  • Work the space
  • Progression through the pitch
Out of possession
  • Press the ball when appropriate
  • Delay and assess
  • Emergency defending
  • Space awareness