In many coached activities – in particular, game-like activities – the scenario can be described as follows:
- Both teams start with zero goals (points)
- A scoring system determines how goals (points) can be scored
- The activity has a defined endpoint
- At the end of the activity, some criteria are used to determine a winner (or overall success)
For example, in a 6v6 scrimmage with goalkeepers:
- Both teams start with zero points
- 1 point is scored whenever the ball enters the net
- The game is played for 15 minutes
- Whichever team has more points at the end is declared the winner
Scrimmages of this style are a staple at most practices. The scrimmage relates to the game – start and end points, player roles, a scoring system, and a duration that will challenge the players’ physical workloads.
An alternative is to create a scenario that mimics specific conditions that a team may encounter in the actual game.
One example is the 1-up/1-down game – the initial scenario is that one team is ahead of the other team by a 1-0 goal. The game has a fixed time limit (for example, 5 minutes) and is played as a scrimmage.
Another example is for one of the teams to play a man-down – to simulate one of the teams having a player sent off. This game could start zero-zero, or the team with the man-down could be ahead 1-0. An alternative is to remove a player when a team scores a goal and/or add a player when the opponent scores.
A variation on these games is a “must win by exactly one goal” rule – teams start zero-zero but, on scoring a goal, must possess the ball after scoring a goal and prevent the other team from scoring. This variation can create unnatural situations – players passing up easy goals, defending teams overplaying. A response may be to add additional conditions – requiring a certain number of players to always be in the defensive third – to prevent players from “gaming the game.”
There are many creative options for developing scenarios that simulate game conditions. The experience of playing within scenarios can build experience and comfort for players when faced with game situations.