Unlock the neutrals is a great possession game where the team with the ball can create an overwhelming numerical advantage against the defense. Once a team completes a given number of passes, neutral players in the corners become ‘unlocked’ and can help the team with the ball in the middle score.
Create a rectangular field with a mini goal on either end. In each corner of the field, create a zone where neutral players start as shown in the diagram. This game works best with five neutral players; one in each corner and one in the middle to start.
Separate the remaining players into two even teams. Team sizes may vary, however I prefer teams of three to six players for this game. Each team defends one of the mini goals.
How It Works
One team starts with the ball and plays keep away from the opposing team in the middle. The team in possession can pass to neutrals in the corners and the neutral player in the middle. Teams must complete six consecutive passes before attempting to score in this game.
In addition, once a team completes six passes, the neutral players in the corners become ‘unlocked’ and are no longer restricted to their corners. This gives the neutrals more freedom to help the offensive team in the middle score a goal.
Alternate Variation: Instead of all four neutral players being unlocked at the same time, teams can unlock one neutral player at a time by passing them the ball once they’ve completed six passes.
When neutral players are unlocked, it’s important to remember that teams need length, width, and depth on offense. This stretches the defense and helps to open up passing lanes. Just because neutral players can roam into the middle doesn’t mean everyone should run into the middle at once.
If you like unlock the neutrals, be sure to take a look at these similar possession drills:
- Keep Away With Neutrals In The Corners
- Possession To Target Players
- Find The Final Pass
- Targets In The Middle