A target-shooting competition for doubles or singles teams; especially recommended for soccer players and coaches, requiring all the basic soccer skills, including teamwork; game time: approximately three minutes per round.
This contest is a race around the course to the peg for two teams starting at the Center Stake in the middle of an eight-wicket course. The course is laid out in two identical rows of four wickets each, up to 20 yards apart, with the two rows separated by up to 20 yards and the stake in the center of the course.
<span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"> Wickets 4 3 2 1<br style="font-family: Arial;" /><br style="font-family: Arial;" /> Stake<br style="font-family: Arial;" /><br style="font-family: Arial;" /> Wickets 5 6 7 8 </span></span>
All players start from within two yards of the center stake. Both teams start simultaneously at the starting signal. Both teams run the course counter-clockwise. One team runs the course in the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 sequence and the other team runs the course in the 5, 6, 7, 8, 1, 2, 3, 4 sequence. The first team to hit the stake wins. In SuperSize Topgun Croquet, the balls are struck with the feet: in Topgun Malletball, the balls are hit with mallets.
In doubles play the opening stroke is made by one team member and the second stroke must be made by the other team member. After the second stroke the ball can be advanced by either player and by any combination of passing and dribbling. After the first wicket is made each player must touch the ball at least once before each succeeding wicket.
Topgun Massacre - If one team catches up to the other team (determined by having the same target wicket) the fast team is immediately declared the winner.
Foul & Penalties – In a tightly regulated competition, on-court referees stationed near the center stake may penalize offending teams for fouls or infractions of the rules by adding five seconds to the time of the offending player(s) for each foul committed.
Disqualification - If a player touches the opponent team’s ball the touching player’s team is disqualified; disqualification also occurs if a player or teams skips a wicket or plays the wickets out of order.
These contests are typically very fast - no more than two or three minutes - so a soccer team or other sizeable group can play an elimination Topgun Tournament within a one-hour time span, including a quarter hour of practice and coaching. Allowing a liberal three minutes per round, an elimination tournament for 32 players (or 16 doubles teams) requires only 45 minutes for the 15 three-minute rounds.
TOPGUN VARIATIONS: The rules above permit a free-flowing contest utilizing a full range of essential soccer skills – including target kicking, dribbling, passing, and active partnership. Many good variations can be devised, and coaches are encouraged to try them all!
(1) The “One-Touch Topgun” variation requires each player’s turn to consist only of a one-touch kick, with strict alternation of turns between the partners. This variation works well for all active groups, including non-soccer players. (2) Another competition – especially good for tie-breaking in a tournament when time is an issue - is a “Topgun Singles” race around the course for opposing individual players.