Drill Purpose

Players enjoy being the “thief” as much as they do trying to escape the thief. Thieves is a player favorite and they enjoy the keep-away aspect of the game. It also serves as a drill that develops dribbling skills and teaches players to avoid defenders while keeping control of the ball.


1. The entire team assembles in the penalty area. All but three players have a ball. The 3 players are the “theives.”

2. On the whistle each thief tries to steal a ball from a player that has one. If the thief steals the ball then he or she attempts to score on the goal. The player whose ball was stolen tries to prevent a goal from being scored.

3. If the thief scores the goal, the player whose ball was stolen becomes a thief also.

4. If the thief misses the goal, then the original player gets the ball back and the play continues.

5. Play continues until only one player contains a ball.

Teaching Tips

Players, particularly those on defense, will need to develop skills in taking the ball away from offensive players. It’s ok to be aggressive as long as no fouls are committed.


– To make the game easier for players with less skill, begin with only one thief
– To make the game more challenging for players that have more skill, increase the playing area and add a goalie.

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