The 3 and 1 challenge

Develop your players’ handling with this rotation of activities. Quick to set up, it could form part of a warm-up routine. Each exercise has a challenge to keep players motivated to look to improve.


Put a player on each corner cone of a square. Start the ball as in the diagram. The ball carrier passes the ball one way, and then runs to the spare cone. The next player receives the pass and then passes again, running to the cone the previous passer left.

This process continues, with the ball moving around the box in one direction while the players move in another. Challenge the players to complete three “circles”. Then challenge them to do it, but no player holds the ball for more than three seconds. Change the size of the box to suit.


Three players stand about 3m away from a ball on the ground. Each player shouts “1,2,3” and then name of a player in the group (including their own). If any name is said by more than one, then that is the nominated ball picker. The picker races to the ball and picks and pops it up to another player who has to pass it to the other player.

Challenge the players to do this so the two receivers are running onto the ball and the last pass is before the receiver has passed the original passer.

For less experienced groups, put the ball further away from the start.

3. MY 2 V 1

Put a ball carrier at the apex of a triangle of cones, facing two attackers. The ball carrier passes the ball to one of the players and then runs forward to pressurise that receiver.

The receiver takes the ball, runs forward and passes the ball to the other player.

The challenge is to make sure the second player is running forward when they receive the ball, so the player who takes the initial pass should run forward.


Put a receiver between two cones about 2m apart. Have a ball carrier 5m away. Have a blocker stand anywhere between the ball carrier and the receiver (they will normally stand closer to the receiver).

The ball carrier throws the ball over the blocker.

The challenge is to throw the ball accurately over the blocker and land it into the 2m area. The receiver must catch it between the cones. They cannot move from side to side. Have three attempts and then swap roles.

Adjust the distances to suit, but don’t make the receiving box too long – you want a high, looping pass.

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