Unusual, uncomfortable and fun handling activities and games

Running up and down the pitch in straight lines passing the ball will improve handling – not much though. And it’s hardly inspiring. Instead, mix up your handling activities to challenge your players to think and play differently, and start to replicate the many game scenarios they face.

Begin gently with our VIDEO: Soft-landing offload skills. Passing from the ground allows a tackled player to create better continuity. This warm-up exercise is excellent for hard-ground training as well as giving players a chance to be creative in their passes.

Get organised with Russian dolls is one of my favourite indoor activities, but is equally good on the outside. There is plenty of confusion, and even better, lots of self-organisation as the players realign with different combinations to keep the passing patterns going.

If you are feeling a little braver, try out Run straight, pass blind. No one is suggesting your players shouldn’t look when they pass, yet this exercise does just that. It creates a new problem for your players to find out ways to solve.

Hot box feet is another warm-up favourite of mine. So quick to set up, you can change the type of ball used as well to give the players lots of chances to think differently.

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