How To Play Crab Soccer – The Ultimate Guide

Clacts - How To Play Crab Soccer The Ultimate GuideCrab soccer is an incredibly fun soccer drill for kids just learning how to play soccer. It’s one of the most enjoyable school games for boys and girls to learn to play as a team, improve their soccer skills, get some healthy exercise and have heaps of fun.

Crab soccer, or Crab Football for soccer fans in countries that refer to the beautiful game as football, is also a fun sports activity for teens at a football academy. Even adult soccer teams are having a ball at using crab soccer in their soccer training plan to build teamwork and boost core strength.

What is Crab Soccer?

Crab soccer gets its name from way players crawl on all fours with their bottoms towards the ground just like a crab while controlling and passing the ball with their feet (not that we’ve seen any crabs playing soccer but anything’s possible!).

Playing crab football is extremely straightforward and requires very little equipment. In fact, all you need is a ball and a set of goals.

6 Benefits of Playing Crab Soccer

  1. Improves upper body, lower body and core strength.
  2. Everyone can get involved regardless of ability, sex and age.
  3. It’s an excellent team-building activity.
  4. Can be played indoors and outdoors.
  5. Requires very little equipment.
  6. The rules are very easy to understand and follow.

Kids Can Grow Stronger Muscles

Crab football can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors by players of all ages regardless of soccer ability and fitness level. Whether you are a soccer coach looking for ways to vary your soccer training sessions, a parent looking for fun indoor activities for children on a rainy day, or a fitness coach looking for unique upper and lower exercise routines at the gym, crab soccer is the ultimate versatile sports activity.

Due to the unusual movements needed to play crab soccer, the muscles in the arms, shoulders, chest, back, neck, abdominals, lower back, buttocks, thighs, calves must all be active in order to support and move your body along the ground.

Players and Soccer Field

Crab soccer is usually played with ten players, five on each side but it will depend on how many people you have and the size of the playing field. The crab soccer field should preferably be in the shape and layout of a normal soccer field, though not as big, and must have a large enough space for all players to move around freely and not get all bunched up in the middle. It should also have an area at each end to indicate the goalkeeper’s area.

Clacts - How To Play Crab Soccer gear and equipmentPrepare the Right Gear for Crab Soccer

Having the right soccer training equipment ensures everyone will get the best experience possible while playing crab soccer. Before the game, it is best to prepare the right ball for the right age group, a good set of netted football goals, and one or two sets of brightly colored bibs to separate teams. For use during the game, crab soccer goalkeepers should be supplied with proper soccer goalkeeping gloves to protect their fingers, hands, and wrists plus a pair of knee and elbow pads when playing on a hard surface such as indoor clay and wood. Although a ball and jumpers for goalposts would be enough to play a game of crab football, the extra football training equipment described below would be a worthwhile addition to enhance the game for all players.

Crab Soccer Balls

There are no strict ball requirements in the game of crab soccer. Therefore, the ball itself can be whatever size, color, and material is available, although the game works best if the ball is spherical. To maintain the spirit of the beautiful game, simply play with a regulation football. To make it easier for players to pass and shoot the ball try using a lighter ball such as a volleyball. If you want to add an element of craziness to the game, why not try a large gym ball? This is a great variation to the game that kids will love; just remember to ignore the ‘no over head height rule’ to compensate for the crazy bounciness.

Crab Soccer Equipment

Mikasa SX50 Indoor Soccer Ball (Size 5) (Sports)


List Price: $27.99
New From: $25.08 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Crab Soccer Goals and Cones

Just as important as the ball itself, a good set of goals is fundamental to the overall experience. If you know the size of the field you will play games on then you can buy goals suited to that size. Additionally, everyone will enjoy the game more if your goals have nets attached so that everyone can clearly see when a goal has been scored. If it is not possible to buy a set of goals then simply put down two cones at either end of the field to signify the goals. For games using cones, you may need to implement a rule stating that only shots along the ground can be counted as goals. Cones will also come in handy to mark out the football field when playing on a spare piece of grass outdoors or when you need to split up a large indoor court.

Crab Soccer Equipment

Crab Soccer Team Bibs & Sports Pinnies

Unless players are informed beforehand to wear specific colored t-shirts for the game, you will need to prepare one or two sets of same colored football training bibs. Brightly colored training bibs have the advantage of easily separating teammates from opponents in both indoor and outdoor games. Numbered bibs are not important for crab soccer.

Crab Soccer Equipment

BlueDot Trading Youth Sports Pinnies – 12 Pack (Sports)


List Price: Price Not Listed
New From: 0 Out of Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Crab Soccer Goalie and Player Gloves (Goalkeeping gloves)

Gloves should be worn by crab football goalkeepers in every game. Attacking players can shoot from very close range which stings the palms and could easily break a goalie’s fingers or wrists. Proper goalkeeping gloves will help prevent any injuries and boost the goalie’s confidence. If necessary or requested, outfield players can wear an inexpensive pair of gloves to protect their hands on rugged ground or help to add grip on slippery indoor surfaces.

Crab Soccer Equipment

NIKE Junior Grip Goalkeeper Gloves (Misc.)


List Price: Price Not Listed
New From: 0 Out of Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

The Rules of Crab Soccer

Football games for kids are great because the rules are extremely easy to follow for both players and referees. They basically follow the same rules as traditional soccer with a few exceptions. Besides not being able to use their hands or heads to control the ball, outfield players must crawl on all fours with their bottoms facing the floor at all times. If any fouls are committed, a free kick is awarded to the other team. Opposing players must not block the free-kick taker from passing the ball. Goalkeepers are exempt from the no handball and crawling rules.

The Crab Soccer Field Markings and Playing Time

The soccer field should have an area surrounding each goal clearly marked. Goalkeepers must not leave this area and outfield players must not enter. Additionally, players cannot score from their own half. When playing outdoors or in an indoor court without walls on all sides, the field of play should be clearly marked to determine when the ball leaves the field. Playing time usually follows the same principle as soccer with the total playing time split into two halves. The total time depends on how long you want to play. Time does not pause during free-kicks or penalties.

Appropriate Clothing for Crab Soccer

Crab soccer is a sport like any other and requires players to wear appropriate clothing. For both indoor and outdoor games, players should wear shorts, t-shirts, bibs if needed to separate teams, and suitable athletic footwear for exercise. Many indoor sports venues instruct players to wear certain types of footwear before allowing players on the field. Check with the sports venue staff before you begin. Since crab football is played on the ground, it is advisable for players to wear black or other dark colored shorts. For safety reasons, jewelry and watches must be removed before play begins, and it is preferable if players who need to wear glasses could wear contact lenses during the game.

Clacts - How To Play Crab Soccer warm up routineWarm Up for Soccer

When coaching crab soccer, and any football training in general, a coach should spend a few minutes getting the players properly warmed up before each and every game. The soccer warm up is designed to prepare the player’s muscles and joints for the workout ahead to not only ensure top performance but also to reduce the risk of injury. The game of crab soccer engages the muscles and joints of the entire body; therefore it is essential that the warm up includes movements that increase blood flow to all the muscles in the upper body, lower back and abdominals, and lower body, as well as sufficiently lubricating major joints. As an added benefit, the warm up also helps prepare the players mentally before the game.

You must always warm up before playing crab soccer because…

…muscles used during a warm up routine increase in temperature due to an increase in blood flow, which helps improve performance by allowing more powerful contractions and quicker relaxation. Aside from energy efficiency, warm muscles are also less susceptible to stiffness and injury, especially important when muscles are overstretched.

…joints used during a warm up routine benefit from fluids flowing through them, providing excellent lubrication, which means increased mobility, flexibility, and range of motion.

…the heart and lungs have a chance to increase in function gradually rather than being called into action suddenly, which could cause unnecessary stress to these vital organs.

…players can build motivation, concentration and excitement for the game. This is also a good time to go through crab soccer training drills for children to use during the game.

Crab soccer warm up training drill 1 (2 minutes)

This warm up routine is intended to get the body moving slowly and incorporates some stretching movements to lubricate the joints.

  1. All players stand in a circle facing inwards. At the same time, begin marching on the spot and slowly raise both arms out to the side and up to the top, keeping arms slightly bent the whole time. When arms cross at the top, reverse the movement and bring the arms back to the starting position. Repeat this circular arm motion for 8 repetitions.
  2. Stop marching at the end of the last repetition. Bring arms back up to the top and hold them there. Bend at the waist towards the left and hold this stretch for 3 breaths. Repeat on the other side for 3 breaths.
  3. Now bend forward at the waist and reach as far as you can towards the ground. Hold for 3 breaths.
  4. Stand us again and bend the left leg up and back so that your heel touches your bottom. Use your left hand to hold the thigh stretch and hold the right arm out to the side to help balance. Hold for 3 breaths and repeat for the right leg for 3 breaths.

Essential Equipment for Warm Ups

Set of 20 Disc Cones Bright Orange by America Kicks (Misc.)


List Price: $8.00 USD
New From: $8.00 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Clacts - How To Play Crab Soccer Ball ControlCrab soccer warm up training drill 2 (2 minutes)

This warm up routine is intended to warm up the body’s core.

  1. Half of the players stand in a circle facing inwards and the other half lying on the ground in front of them with their heads closest to the standing player. The players lying down should grip the calves of the standing player for support and slowly raise their legs while keeping their back and shoulders touching the ground. The standing player will hold out their hands in front of them as a target for lying players to reach up and touch with their legs. Do 20 repetitions and then switch players.

Crab soccer warm up training drill 3 (2 minutes)

This warm up routine is intended to really get the blood flowing. It also helps to train all the sweat glands so that you can stay cool during the game. The sprinting combined with reaching movements towards the ground engages all muscles of the body and gets the heart pumping and lungs opening.

  1. Use cones to set up a starting line. Now place a line of cones at 5 meters, 10 meters, and 20 meters from the starting line.
  2. At the same time, all players are to sprint from the starting line towards the next line 5 meters away and touch that 5 meter line and then return to the start, again touching the line.
  3. As soon as the players touch the starting line, they should sprint to the touch the 10 meter line and then back to the touch the starting line.
  4. As soon as the players touch the starting line, they should sprint to the touch the 10 meter line and then sprint back through the starting line to finish.

Ready to Play Crab Soccer

This 6 minute warm up routine is designed to gradually increase in difficulty so that the body can slowly get used to more intense movements. Using this warm up soccer drill will help increase muscle temperature, lubricate joints, encourage organ function, and prepare the players mentally.

Clacts - How To Play Crab Soccer rules and refereeingRules for Coaching Crab Football

If you want to play, coach or referee a game of crab soccer, then you should read the following post carefully. The rules for crab football are extremely easy for all to understand. Many of the rules are borrowed from the real sport of soccer with a few common sense additions to enhance good sportsmanship. The crab football field is organized in a certain way to allow referees to make sure players adhere to the rules. Outfield players are separated from goalkeepers at all times and must follow a different set of rules. Meanwhile, goalkeepers are afforded extra consideration due to their important position but are subject to the most punishment if they lose focus and commit a foul. The crab soccer rules are listed and described below along with an extra section to help referees spot some dirty tricks perpetrated by sneaky players.

The 10 Rules of Crab Soccer – Free Kicks and Out of Play

The rules are extremely easy to follow for both players and referees:

  1. Outfield players must crawl on all fours with their backs facing the floor at all times.
  2. Outfield players must not touch the ball with their hands.
  3. Outfield players must not kick the ball higher than head height (this means head height while crawling, which is around one meter from the ground).
  4. Outfield players must not use their head to control the ball.
  5. Outfield players must not enter the goalkeeper’s area.
  6. Outfield players cannot score a goal from their own half of the field.

If any of these rules are broken, a free kick is awarded to the other team at the location where the foul was committed. Opposing players must stand at least one meter away from the free-kick location.

When playing in a field without walled boundaries and the ball leaves the field of play, follow these rules:

  1. If the ball leaves the field to either side, regardless of who touched the ball last, the referee will collect the ball and throw it back into the middle of the field.
  2. If the ball leaves either end of the field behind the goals, regardless of who touched the ball last, the ball is returned to the goalkeeper.

Goalkeepers are allowed to touch the ball with their hands and can ‘stand up’ on their knees but must follow these rules:

  1. Goalkeepers must not leave their exclusive area around the goal.
  2. Goalkeepers must not throw the ball higher than head height and use underarm throwing instead.

If any of these rules are broken, a penalty kick is awarded to the other team, which is taken from the center spot on the half-way line.

Playing time usually follow the same principle as soccer with the total playing time split into two halves. The total time depends on how long you want to play. Time does not pause during free-kicks or penalties.

Essential equipment for refereeing crab soccer

ACCUSPLIT Pro Survivor – A601X Stopwatch, Clock, Extra Large Display (Sports)


List Price: $189.99
New From: $13.50 – $189.99
Used from: Out of Stock
Variations: (Color):
YellowNew from $19.96 USD
RedNew from $17.62 USD
BlueNew from $16.55 USD
GreenNew from $19.96 USD
AquaNew from $18.60 USD
CherryNew from $15.95 USD
LemonNew from $19.96 USD
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SmokeNew from $20.23 USD

Sneaky Crab Soccer Fouls for Referees to Watch Out for

Although most crab football players are honest, and even more would claim that they are, some sneaky tactics still creep into the game. Here are just a few to look out for if you are refereeing a game.

Handballs: In contrast to soccer, crab soccer is played with arms close to the ball. Accidental hand balls are common and of course a free kick must be given to the opposing team. However, cheeky players can angle their bodies or direct the ball away from sight of the referee and use their hands to push the ball away from opposing players to gain an unfair advantage. The best prevention for this is to keep moving around the crab soccer field, without getting in the way of play, and maintain eye contact with the ball. Keep a close eye on any players deemed to be committing handballs often at the annoyance of the other team players.

Speech Play: Apart from the obvious foul language, sneaky players will often call for a pass from unsuspecting opposing players. This is poor sportsmanship and guilty players should be given a warning.

Physical Crab Soccer Fouls for Referees to Watch Out for

Foot Holding: When a player has the ball under control between their legs but have an opposing player directly behind them who is preventing them from turning with the ball, the player in possession can put their right hand on the other players right foot and press down as they turn in towards the right and move away with the ball (similarly for the left side). The defending player will be unable to move and stop the player from passing him or her. This is using excessive force and play should be stopped to award the defending player a free kick.

Leg Locking: When players are not in possession of the ball, then opposing players must not wrap their legs around that player to prevent them from moving freely. This is using excessive force for defending and usually forces the attacker to commit ‘foot holding’. In these situations, it can be hard for a referee to determine who committed the initial foul. The best way to decide is to try and watch the ball while glancing often at other players on the field. Players will normally behave if they know you are watching them.

There are Crabs on the Soccer Pitch

Enjoyed in many different forms around the world by players of all ages and experience, crab soccer or crab football offers an exciting way to spend time. Not only is it an excellent game for kids and a unique soccer drill but also the perfect activity for older people to keep fit while having fun. Besides the straightforward, easy to follow rules, crab soccer requires very minimal equipment to get a game going. So grab a ball, get two teams together and compete in a game of crab soccer to the best of your crustacean abilities.

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