3 vs 3 – the German Football Revolution – Training with 4 mini goals

Small teams, small playing fields, 4 mini goals. This kind of game form is not new. Its basic principles were developed back in the 1980s. It is likely to be even older. Nevertheless, this type of game has currently triggered a revolution in children’s football in Germany since the German Football Association (DFB) began to introduce it across the whole country. Training in 3 vs 3 is not unknown. The revolutinary idea is not only to train in this form of play, but also to play the football games on weekends in this way – in the age groups from U6 to U9. Step by step it will replace the previous game form 7 vs 7. The reasons for this revolution are complex. On the one hand, the DFB has recognized that the number of creative dribblers is steadily decreasing in the professional German leagues. Players like Götze, Gnabry, Sane or Werner are exceptions in German football and do not correspond to the usual type of player. However, creative players are urgently needed to overcome the increasingly compact defensive lines. On the other hand, not only the number of dribble artists has shrunk, but also the number of young people from higher age groups playing in clubs. Football, the absolute favorite sport in Germany, shows a dramatic decline in children and adolescents playing. Many lose the desire to play in the course of their club career because they are used too rarely and have too few success experiences. 3 vs 3 may not be the panacea to counteract this development, which is also influenced by changes in society. But it can contribute to better football education for children. In 3 vs 3, all children have many ball actions in the form of dribbles, passes and shots on goal – and in this way many successes. In addition, the kickers have more playing time than in 7 vs 7, because up to 8 small fields can be built on a whole sports field and there are virtually no substitutes. The game form 3 vs 3 makes it possible: Every child can play on the weekend. Nobody has to stay at home.
The new form of weekend competition will also affect training in Germany. Small football games in small teams and small fields will become even more of a focus. The following game types show how you can train consistently with the 3 vs 3 field structure and prepare the players from 1 vs 1 to 3 vs 3 for the different game situations and the multitude of decisions step by step.

Zone dribble with defenders


Blue dribbles from zone to zone and shoots at the goals. Red is a defender and may only move in the middle of the field. Change of task when the ball is captured.

Double 1 vs 1 on 4 mini goals

Red matches blue. Blue attacks in 1 vs 1 on 2 mini goals opposite. When the ball is captured, red counters the other 2 mini goals. Change of task after a short time.

2 vs 1 on 4 mini goals

Red pass to a player of blue. Blue attacks in 2 vs 1 on 2 mini goals opposite. When the ball is captured, red counters the other 2 mini goals.

3 vs 2 on 4 mini goals

Red passes to a player of blue. Blue attacks in 3 vs 2 on 2 mini goals opposite. When the ball is captured, red counters the other 2 mini goals.

3 vs 3 on 4 mini goals


Blue plays against red in 3 vs 3 with 1 rotation player each. Each team attacks 2 mini goals and defends the other 2 mini goals. Goals may only be scored within the shooting zones. Change the rotation player after every goal, at the latest after 1 minute. If there is a 3 goal gap, the losing team may play in excess (4 vs 3) until the gap is only 1 goal.

3 vs 3 on diagonal goals


Blue plays against red in 3 vs 3. Each team attacks 2 diagonally opposite mini goals and defends the other 2 mini goals. The mini goals are color-coded.

3 vs 3 on ice hockey goals


Blue plays against red in 3 vs 3 on 4 reversed mini goals.


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