1v1 Soccer Drill

The Gatekeeper Game | 1V1 Drill

In this fun 1v1 drill for kids, players will try to take the ball past the ‘Gatekeepers’ to score points. This drill is great for practicing turning with the ball, dribbling, and shielding with the ball.

The Gatekeeper Game

Set Up The Drill

Set up a 20×20 yard grid using small cones. Next place 4-5 small gates approximately 1 yard wide randomly within the area. For the small gates, you can use tall cones, poles, or even more small cones depending on what you have available. Split players up into pairs and have enough balls for one between two with additional balls placed on the outside of the grid.


Split the players up into pairs, numbering them 1 and 2. Player number 1 will start as the attacker and have a ball at their feet and player number 2 will start as the defender (or gatekeeper). All pairs work within the grid at the same time. Upon the coach’s call, all the attackers have to try and dribble through as many of the gates as possible whilst maintaining possession of the ball.

Players cannot dribble through the same gate twice in a row and they get a point for each gate they successfully dribble through. The gatekeepers must try and stop their partners from scoring points by blocking whichever gate they are trying to dribble through. If the gatekeepers win the ball they must give it straight back to their partner and the game continues.

After 90 seconds the players should switch roles. Whoever gets the most points wins! To keep the game going, have players switch partners and repeat!


Have players work in groups of 4, with one pair acting as the attackers (with 1 ball between them) and 1 pair acting as the gatekeepers. Play the same rules but the attackers can now pass the ball between them to try and find an open gate more quickly.

Coaching Points

  • Try to utilize lots of tricks, turns and changes of direction to fool the gatekeepers.
  • Keep your head up, be aware of the other players, open gates and the position of your opponent.
  • When under pressure try to keep your body in between the ball and the defender whenever possible.
  • Utilize a change of pace to get away from the defender.

Top Tip:

Award extra points to players who successfully execute a turn move to change direction and surprise their partners!