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Carl's Keep Away 6v2


  • To encourage players from an early age to appreciate the benefits of passing the ball to a teammate.

  • Developing passing and receiving and an appreciation of space.


  • To keep the ball for the longest time; for the defenders to win the ball or force an error.


  • Mark a grid 15 x 15 yards depending on numbers.

  • If possible split group in half, say two groups of 6.

  • Use pinnies to distinguish the two groups.

  • One group of 6 goes into the square and two of the other group also go into the square. The rest wait in line for their turn.

  • The 6 players try to keep the ball away from the two defenders.

  • When the defenders win the ball or force the ball to be played out of the area they change with the next pair of defenders. This goes on until every defender has been through and they then change with the other team.

  • The team that keeps the ball for the longest time (stop watch out) is the winner.

  • If a team is doing so well the defenders cannot get the ball after 30 seconds shout, "Change!" and the next defender replaces the one in the middle. However, the game continues until 3 interceptions or errors have taken place.

  • The coach keeps a supply of balls handy so after an interception or a ball is kicked out of play he/she kicks or rolls another ball in.

  • May need some skillful number adjustments by the coach if there are uneven numbers.



  • Coach must assess whether the playing area is too big or too small and make adjustments if necessary.

  • For the first few minutes allow the players to play in a non-competitive way so that when a mistake is made, the coach can recreate the situation and then ask the player or players who made the mistake what the alternatives are. Praise him or her for coming up with the answers (as they surely will). If they can see what should be done they will learn more quickly to do it when the ball is in play.

  • Then go into the stopwatch competition described above without any interventions by the coach other than putting the ball back in play.

  • This practice should be used on a regular basis and progressed when the children are ready (see Carl's Keep Away 5 v 1).


  • It may take a while for the children to become so good that the game needs “progressing.” When they are ready, use the following methods.

  • Make the square smaller.

  • Reduce the numbers, e.g., from 6 vs. 1 to 5 vs. 1.

  • Limit the number of touches per player, e.g., three touch or two touch.

  • Increase the number of defenders, e.g., 6 vs. 2.

  • As they improve adjust the numbers, field size and the player ratios.

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