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I Dare You To Teach Them to Play



By Karl Dewazien

It is difficult to put a challenge on paper. I would rather look you straight in the eye and say, “I Dare You To Teach Your Players To Play (Soccer) Each And Every Day!" In my mind that is exactly what I am doing. I am on one side of this screen. You are on the other. I am looking across and saying, “I Dare You To Teach Your Players To Play (Soccer) Each And Every Day!"

Notice that I did not say ‘Practice’ every day. What I want them to do is teach them to PLAY every day! To be more specific:

“I Dare You To Teach Them To PLAY --  1 vs. 1 Games Every Day”

Show them how with a friend they can find an open area, preferably with grass, to play on. No, they don’t need an ‘official’ field with touch and goal lines. All they really need is an area that is safe! They should avoid any area that has holes, sprinklers, or other things that could cause an injury. Also, have them remove glass, rocks and other potentially harmful objects!

Then, have them agree on what they will use to make their goals…Yes, any object like a shoe, shirt, bag, cup can be used to make a goal. Making two small goals is very easy if you teach them the following procedure:

With feet together have them hold ‘an object’ in each out-stretched hand. 

Have them move the right foot as far as they can. 

Have them place the marker outside of the right foot.

Have them bring feet back together.

Have them do the same thing on the left side.

There is the perfect goal for the 1 vs. 1 game.

No, they do not need cones or an ‘official’ goal to PLAY 1 vs. 1. 

As a matter of fact milk containers filled with water or sand work very well!

Teach them the coin toss or some other way to decide who ‘serves’ the ball to start the game. Starting each game with ‘the SERVE’ is the fairest way to begin the game. Besides they will be working on 1st Attacker and 1st Defender techniques while going through the pattern of ‘the SERVE’ as we have mentioned in previous articles.

Here are some other Rules you can teach them to try:

-No out of bounds

-With out of bounds

-First to 11 goals - wins

-The one with the most goals at end of a  time limit – wins

-They can score from either side of the goal

-They can only score from a certain distance

-The ball must ‘roll’ between the markers for a score

-The ball can ‘bounce’ between the markers for a score

-They can score by making a terrific tackle

-They can score by beating the opponent with a great fake

-They can only score by dribbling the ball through the markers

-Encourage them to make up their own rules!!!

Tell them that it is a great idea to keep a ‘Record Chart’ of their 1 vs. 1 games. Show them how to  include the Time, Date, Opponent and Score on this Chart. Have them put their chart on the refrigerator or some other ‘special’ place in the house. Then, encourage them to post the scores of the ‘daily’ game results. Finally, have them agree on a reward to be given to the winner at the end of a week, couple of weeks or the end of each month. For example the loser buys the next banana split.

You could, also, suggest that  they and their friends organize a 1vs. 1 ‘Neighborhood World Cup’ tournament! Have them keep a ‘Neighborhood Chart’. They can ask a local store owner to put the chart in a ‘special’ place in the store. Again, have them post the scores of the ‘daily’ game results. Finally, they should ask the owner to provide a reward to be given to the winner at the end of each month. Such as having a picture of them posing (with ball at their feet) in front of the establishment with a big smile on their face.

In time these 1 vs. 1 games will instill in them the two most important habits that will make them the best soccer player they can be. First, they will develop the habit of ‘Attacking’ when they have the ball. And, second, they will develop the habit of ‘Defending’ when they do not have the ball.  What more can you ask for?

I Dare You To Teach Them To Play (1 vs. 1 Soccer) Every Day…

So that they can either  ‘Attack or Defend’ – Come What May!

Readers:  Your responses on this subject are welcome…!

Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien)

-Emeritus State Director of Coaching California Youth Soccer Ass. 1978-2012

-Former Co-Chair US Youth Soccer Coaching Committee 

-Author - Internationally Published FUNdamental SOCCER Books Series

-Producer - Highly acclaimed ‘9-Step Practice Routine’ DVD. 

-Internet clinician at:


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