Soccer Passing Drill

Monkey In The Middle | 3v1 Drill

In this fun warm-up game, players get to work on their passing, receiving, and movement skills. Players will pass the ball and try and keep it away from the ‘Monkey In The Middle’.

Monkey In The Middle – 3v1 Drill

Set Up The Drill

Using small cones, set up one 12×12 yard grid for every four players. Have enough balls for one per grid and a supply of additional balls ready on the outside to facilitate quick restarts. Place one bib inside each grid for the ‘monkey’ to hold.


Split the players up into groups of 4 and put them in a grid each. Designate one person in each grid as the initial monkey or defender. Have that person hold a bib so everyone knows who it is. The remaining 3 players must keep the ball away from the monkey in the middle by passing to each other. If the monkey in the middle wins the ball or somebody accidentally kicks it out of the grid, the offending player switches places with the monkey, and play continues.


Limit the offensive team players to 2 or 3 touches every time they receive the ball.

Coaching Points

  • The player on the ball should have a passing option to their left and their right at all times.
  • Players should spread out as much as they can within the square to give themselves space to play – soccer is easy with space!
  • Players should receive the ball with an open body shape so they have the option of passing to their left or right.
  • Quick movement from the supporting players to make themselves available for a pass.


For lower-level or younger players have the monkey play with a ball up their shirt to slow them down a little and give the attacking players more time to pass and receive!