I have this thing I do where I declare things with an intense authority.
Like – Saint Bernards are the cutest dogs ever. Or My grandma makes meatballs better than any other grandma. Or Miracle Whip is the worst thing ever invented.
I just feel very strongly about certain things. I stick to my guns. I know what I know. I like what I like.
With that said, Dorothy Mantooth is a saint! JK.
The absolute best kind of pickup soccer is 3v3. And no one can ever change my mind. And here is why.
There are three players on each team. Three points make a triangle. When passing on the field, a triangle is ideal. There is always the potential to have two supporting players. There are different types of triangles you can make. It works.
If you want to work on shooting it’s good to work on shooting with big goals. If you want to work on accuracy of you’re passing, you want to play 3v3. Small goals do wonders for passing accuracy. It’s amazing how much more accurate you can be with a “pass” when you’re shooting on goal.
A 3v3 match should be played in a small area. When space is sparse and you can’t always go around, sometimes you have to go through. Thank the soccer Gods for the nutmeg. It’s the best thing ever.
One of the best parts of 3v3 is that you will get a lot of touches on the ball. Unlike 11v11 or anything close to that, you don’t have much time to rest in between touches on the ball or tracking back for a sliding kick save off the goal line. It’s go, go, go all the time. You’re getting in good, fun soccer and also getting in fitness. It. Just. Works.
During 3v3, intense little rivalries start. Things get personal because there are only three of you, but if you talk shit, everyone can hear it. It’s a small field. It’s an intimate setting if you will. It gets real. Goals can be scored quickly. Tackles can be hard. Things are intensified because everything happens fast in a short amount of time. And let’s be honest, if you’re playing 3v3, you’re not in it for the thrill of almost winning. You’re trying to win at any cost.
Small areas. Fast paced. Your touches need to be clean and sharp or the ball will go out of bounds. It’s simple as that. Not only do you need to be good on the ball to perform well in a 3v3 match, but you will also get much better on the ball as a result of playing 3v3 in a small area.
No Long Balls
It forces players to play out of situations. There is no simple solution. It’s all intricate. Sometimes you have to take players 1v1. Sometimes you have to use combination play. Sometimes you get lucky and the ball hits off the other team’s foot and goes in the goal. No matter what, you have to think through scenarios depending on what the other team gives you.
The big field is a scary place sometimes. It’s worth taking the time to build up by playing small-sided. If you find yourself struggling to be the 1v1 attacker or defender you’ve always wanted to be, try 3v3. It will build up your confidence and bring you back to the roots of the game.
Playing 3v3 pickup, without coaches or guidance, is a way of finding the game again. It’s simple. It’s fun. It’s competitive. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing. It brings joys to those who are without.
At the end of the day, people will argue that 4v4, 5v5, 6v6 or 7v7 is great for pickup. I don’t think any of those completely suck for pickup, I just don’t prefer them in any capacity. I think 3v3 is the absolute best.
I realize that the actual game is and always will be 11v11, but let me say this: if it ever changes to 3v3, I’m so in, it’s insane. And I know who my teammates will be too. If you think you can guess, I’d love to hear them. I’ll give hints for each player. One is Manya Makoski and the other is anyone else who wants to defend.