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Can you give me your ideas of a one test only assessment to split a large mixed ability group of players (20 to 60) into the right ability groups in less than 2 hours?

Here is one example I use.
I put out this slalom as the test whenever confronted with a large group of mixed ability players that need to be put into equal ability groups to play a game or to be coached. The slalom incorporates lots of the aspects of the techniques required by the individual players to play the game of hockey. I.e. running with the ball, fast and controlled, changing direction with the ball pivoting, stopping the ball etc.
I normally set up 2 - 4 identical slaloms, see attachment, and have 4 coaches or helpers with a stopwatch (mobile phones are great for this).
To record the score I normally put a label on the stick of each player so they can write down their time.
Once all players have recorded a time, ask the players to stand in time order on the sideline.
Once the players are in order you can put the 10 fastest times to play a 5 aside game across 23 meter area and the next 10 in the next 23 meter area and so on up to 40 players playing on one full pitch. The last few changes you might now need to make are the players that perform better or weaker on any particular pitch (should not be to many).

Bram, thats great for individual skills, but if you have a large group you have lost half the pitch and you are only entertaining a small number of players at a time. For pre-season at school (especially at 13+ when lots of people join the school who we don't know the ability level) we usually try to divide the pitch into 4 quarters and the group into 8 random teams and play 4 games simultaneously. Then every 10 minutes move players around until we have games of equal ability. This usually helps to see basic skills and game awareness.

What I normally do to put players in ability groups is to play the 1v1 up and down competition ( see attached practice) maximum of 6 pitches across each 23 m area after about 15 to 20 ,1 minute, games the players should be in the right quarter of the pitch .

In Each area you than play a 5 or 6 a side match with the players that finished up there

You can now have a final look at if any players looking still out of place.



1 v 1 competition

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The aim of the game is to try and score goals from about 2m out.

The length of the game is approximately 2-3 minutes long and starts on the first whistle and stopped on the second whistle.

When the game is stopped it is important that there is a winner on each pitch. In the case of a draw the winner is decided on the throw of a stick (flat or round). Once every pitch has a winner all the winners move up one pitch (so if the player is on pitch 6 he moves to pitch 5). The losers do the opposite, they move one pitch down. The winner on pitch 1 and the loser on the lowest pitch have nowhere to move so they stay on their pitches.

Once everyone has moved the game can start again.

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  • or access our tried and tested plans