Social distancing: The Cannonball Run game

Use this fun warm-up game to test the players’ passing, evasion and decision-making skills. The defenders use rolled-up socks as cannonballs, though they could equally use rolled up bibs. Thanks to Ray Smith who coaches with the Old Reigatians Girls for the inspiration for this activity.

  1. Set up the pitch, with a safe zone to start with the players cannot be fired at.
  2. There’s a win zone at the end.
  3. Put three defenders with a rolled-up sock each on the cones along the middle.
  4. Put two attackers with a ball in the safe zone.

  1. The attackers aim to get past each defender without the ball carrier being struck by a cannonball (rolled-up sock).
  2. They must pass before each defender.
  3. The defenders remain on their cone but can fire once a ball carrier enters their zone.
  4. They throw underarm and can only make a hit if the cannonball strikes at below the waistband (not headshots!).
  5. If the ball carrier is struck, then they are eliminated, and swap with the cannon that struck them.
  6. If the attackers succeed, they turn and repeat, with the cannons moving one cone backwards. Allow time for the cannons to retrieve their ammunition.
  7. For some players, allow them two cannonballs.
  8. Adjust the distances to suit your players.



  • Run hard.
  • Pass for the receiver.
  • Keep changing angles


Ray Smith: The inspiration behind this drill was to get the attacking player to look at the defender at all times. If they are aware that they might be hit by a cannonball, then they have to look at the defender. Of course, they also need to be aware of their support player too.

By introducing a mandatory pass I was trying to get them to draw the defender before passing. We can’t do this properly at present due to social distancing but we can hopefully get the defending player to commit to a throw before the attacking player passes or dodges the throw.

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