8v2 in a 10×10-yard area playing 1 touch
Count passes in succession, award extra point(s) for any through ball that split the 2 defenders. Defenders must win or disturb 3 possessions to get out – any through ball regains the possession group with 1 extra possession
• Possession team must play quick in tight area with good touch
• Anticipate the next pass, be creative and deceptive, use a variety of touches and feints – seek out best option
• Defenders must apply pressure to the ball and support the pressure
• Constant communication between the 2 and shifting of positions relative to the ball
• If he defence plays flat, a through ball can beat them, thus, it is 1 player up and player 1 off.
4v2 in a 15×10 yard area playing 1 or 2 touch
Possession players may move up and down their respective line, but not enter into the middle – count consecutive passes and reward for through passes. Defenders must play out over any line, thus 2 v. 1 to get out of the middle. Excellent positional training game – wide players play wide and central deep players in the top and bottom spots.
• Possession team must use the entire area and maintain their shape
• The ball should be played away from the defenders, using the deep player as needed
• Coach may restrict touches or using 1 foot
• Defenders maintain pressure/support and communicate
• They must deny the through ball.
4v2 + 1 in a 15×10-yard area playing 1 and 2 touch
Possession players add an additional player in the middle. Outside players play 2 touches and the middle player plays 1 touch. Excellent positional game with the middle player being a midfielder. Defenders play possession 2 v. 1 in the middle.
The key is to keep shape big – the middle possession player cannot restrict space – they need to create space. Outside players look to play ball in when they can and the middle player plays out in 1 touch.
6v3 + 1 in a 25×20 yard area playing two touch
in a larger area with more players and more options of play and more pressure. The outside players are in their playing positions. The wRmd and wRdef are positioned on one line and the left sided players on the opposite line. The target attacker and central defender along with the midfielder in the centre form the possession group. The middle 3 defenders play 3 v 1 in the middle with limited touches
• With the additional players, more options become available
• Play can go along one line, in to the middle, up to the top or back
• Constantly change the point of attack
• The three defenders want to remain compact and focus on their shape of pressure, support and cover
• They should deny any through balls and force play that leads to turnovers.
6v4 + 2 in a 30×25 yard area with limited touch
Full build up with 12 players involved. The playing area has been enlarged as have the numbers. There are more options than ever with additional defensive pressure. Positional game with 6 outside players, 2 midfielders in the middle against the 4 defenders, represents a real game-like environment. The outside players play 2 touch and the inside midfielders play 1 touch.
Defenders stay compact, play in a diamond shape and play ball-orientated defence. They should play pressure, 2 support players and a cover man (sweeper). On winning the ball, the 4 defenders will play 4v2 in the middle with 2 touches.
3v1 to 5v3 in a 20×15 yard area and a 10×10 yard area
Start inside with 3 v. 1 playing 1 or 2 touch. When the 1 defender wins the ball, he plays out to the 4 outside players who play possession, now making it a 5 v. 3 game in the larger area.
When the 1 defender in the middle wins the ball, he must quickly transition the ball to the outside players. The 3 in the middle must remain compact on defence and deny the through ball.
6v3 with constant change-over in a 30×25 yard area
Play 3 teams of 3 in different colours. 2 colours combine and play against the 3rd colour.
When the defending team wins the ball, the team that turned the ball over becomes the defending team. It is always 2 colours v 1 colour. Play with limited touches.
• Maintain proper shape with the possession team (width and depth)
• Make the playing area as big as possible
• Make the defending team defend the entire area
• Defending team should maintain compactness and play pressure, support and cover
• On winning the ball, quickly transition into possession with new group.
4v2 + 2 in two teams in a 30×20 yard area
Play 4 groups of 2, each in a different colour. Start with 4 v. 2 in 1 area with 2 waiting players in the other area. Establishing the proper shape for the possession team. Defenders, upon winning the ball, play into the other area and join, making 4 possession players. The colour that turned the ball over becomes the defenders and moves into the other area as well. The remaining 2 players wait in the first area for the ball to transition back to them.
• The teams in possession must maintain the proper shape
• When they lose the ball, they must then quickly transition into the other area to defend and win the ball
• The two defenders need to play pressure and cover and not allow through balls
• Upon winning the ball, quickly transition ball to the other area and join as a new possession group.
4v2 in a 15×10 yard area playing with 1 goal with keeper.
The 3 outside plus the keeper play possession (1 or 2 touch) vs the 2 inside players – when the inside player wins the ball, he immediately takes a shot at goal. If the keeper makes a save, resume possession play. Keep extra balls available to keep the game going.
• The possession group will focus on lean, quick and accurate touches
• The keeper plays as a field player and improves his skills with feet
• The 2 inside players defend with the intent to win the ball and have an immediate shot at goal
• Make teams and keep score – make it competitive – set a time limit to play.
4v4 + 2 with keeper in a 30×25 yard area
The possession team includes the 4 outside players, the 2 inside players and 2 keepers – a total of 8 players in possession team. The 4 inside players must first defend and win the ball and they can attack at either goal, playing 4 v. 2. The team of 8 are playing possession, while the team of 4 is playing to score goals.
Play attacking players in the middle and have them win the ball and then attempt to score.
Use backs and midfielders as the possession team.
• Possession team: play 2 touch and keep the ball moving quickly with constant changing the direction of play. The inside players may play only 1 touch – great exercise for the keeper as field players. The 2 inside players will become defenders when the ball changes over
• Inside team: defend in a diamond shape and stay compact. Work hard and communicate – the reward is to attack wither goal.
4v2 in 2 zones to 1 goal with keeper
Play in an area of 20 x 30 yards ( 2 of each)
2 areas of 20 w x 15 l
Play starts with 4 v 2 in a possession game – when the 2 inside players win the ball, they play 2v1 to leave the zone and then play 2 v. 2 in the other zone trying to score a goal. The 2 waiting players players are the defenders in the second zone – should they win the ball, they return it to the 4 players of the first zone and the original 2 inside players and defend. If a goal is scored, the scoring group remains in zone 2 and the other group goes to zone 1 and plays 4v2.
• Possession team has only 1 aim: keep the ball
• Defending 2 players must win the ball, win a 2 v. 1 duel, and then play 2 v. 2 and try to score
• The 2 waiting players must defend and play out to the possession players
• If they concede a goal, then they become the defenders in the first zone
• Divide into groups of 4 and rotate the players into different positions.
4+4 vs 4+4 w 2 keeper in a 35 x 25 yard area
Inside players play 2 touch and the outside players play 1 touch. Very fast paced game and is all about scoring.
Everyone is always involved and it is very competitive.
• Encourage shooting. Rebounds, first time shots off wide players pass or target players
• Outside players on toes
• Constant transition – defenders become attackers and vice-versa.
Use 3 equal zones of 30 – 35 yards across the full width of the pitch – 8 v. 8 with keepers
Teams play a possession game in the middle zone and on a turnover, the team winning the ball, should release the deepest player to go to goal. The player with the ball should look for and find that player and deliver a ball that will take the best chance possible to score. Any delay in the action will result in lower percentage chance at goal. You may choose to release a chasing defender or not. When the keeper gets possession, the ball is played back into the middle zone and possession starts.
• Look for cooperation and communication when the ball changes to the attacking team. The timing of the run and the ball will be crucial to the success of the breakout
• Defenders try to deal the ball being played into the attacking zone – put immediate pressure on player with ball.
7 + keeper v 5 in 3 zones of 25 yards x 50 yards width
The team of 5 plays to the goal with the keeper, while the team of 7 play to the small goals.
The team of 5 must transition to gaol within 4 touches, while the team 7 + k must play 2 touch to the small goal.
• The team of 7 must open the field up with a good shape in order to keep possession
• The team of 5, must stay compact in defence
• Keeper plays with team of 7.
In this game 3 even numbered teams play to 2 goals with keeper in 3 zones. Team 1 will attack, team 2 will defend and team 3 will be waiting.
Team 1 attacks team 2 – should team 2 win the ball, they must clear out of the back zone into the middle zone with ball possession. They can then regroup and build an attack vs. team 3 at the opposite end of the field. If an attacking team scores, they keep the ball and attack the third team.
• Value the possession – get a good shape and keep the ball
• Look for chances to score
• When possession is lost, immediately transition into defence
• Once the ball is in the middle zone, under pressure play stops.
Quick passing with a give-and-go and a double pass.
The sequence starts with short passes back and forth and then a long pass. Then it is a give and go and long pass. Follow pass to next spot.
Out from the back – over the winger – and serve into penalty area
Play starts with the back playing out to the midfielder who plays into the forward and moves off to receive the ball in a different space. The midfielder then plays ball wide to winger who serves. The forward and midfielder go to goal to receive the serve and try to score. Do this from both sides of the field with 2 groups. Add the defender to play against the serve.
All passes must be quality
Quality serve from winger.
Up-back-deep-and go to goal in a half field area or less
This is the first of 12 progressions with the same starting action. The back plays up to the midfielder and gets the ball back. Then plays a deep ball to the striker who dribbles to goal and shoots
• Good sequence between the back and midfielder with crisp passing
• The midfielder should check and come back to the ball and lay it off to the back – in 1 touch
• Score or hit target with every shot.
When the striker advances to goal, the player must avoid the obstacle and then finish with goal-scoring attempt.
A second midfielder is added to the sequence and also a winger. Same initial sequence. As the ball goes to the winger, 2 midfielders and striker take up positions. Back joins as a defender and the serve becomes a real soccer situation. The keeper and the back must defend against the 3 attackers. The wingers must deliver a quality ball in to give the attackers a great chance to score.
5 player patter – up – back – up – and move
Play starts with the back (1) playing a ball to a midfielder (2) who returns the ball to the back.
The back then plays long to the next midfielder (3) who is in line with player 2 – player 3 lays ball of to player 2 and spins around the obstacle to receive a return pass. Player 3 then plays a flat pass to player 4, player 4 plays up to player 5 who lays the ball off for a shot from player 4. follow the pass and take up the next position. All passes should be well placed and played first time. The ball speed must be at game speed.
Each team plays with a target player in opposite corners of the playing area – they are safe zones.
Teams can score in opposition’s zones but only if they dribble in and out gain without losing the ball.
Develop the practice by changing way teams score and build in goals. Think about removing safe zones.
Build in rotation of target players – ‘pass in, go in’ is one way of doing this.
2 or 3 zones/squares laid out on a playing area.
2 teams play a game of keep ball and try to get the ball to a target player (on their side) who operate inside the zones.
Area and zone size dependant on age and ability.
Great for balance, strength and ball protection skills plus quick and clever movements.
SESSION TO GAME
Set up the session with 5 reds and 3 blues with 2 balls.
Build in realistic movement and positional changes at will – keep the balls moving and the pattern of play intact.
When the coach blows a whistle one ball is discarded and the session turns into a 5v3 possession game.
Reds keep the ball.
If yellows win possession they can score in any goal.
Return to the pattern session after a time period and start again.
Great for seeing if any patterns learnt in the session are put in place.
RT3 – RECEIVING & TURNING
3 zones – as illustrated
Balls with GK’s
Defenders outnumber attackers in each end
Reverse in midfield
Blues keep possession working through the middle and end to end.
Score if they can move the ball to 2 consecutive ends. Stay in zones to start with.
Reds – break up the play and attack either goal as quickly as possible, go in any zone.
If ball goes off the field restart with GK’s.
Progress to changing positions and overloads.
Make sure there is enough room for the pass into space beyond defender.
RECEIVING TO PASS FORWARD
All red serving players start with a ball.
The blue players receive a ball from a red player in their half and then pass to a red player without the ball in the opposite half.
The passing player then moves to receive a pass from a different red player.
After receiving the ball the blue players can pass to another blue or red in their half without the ball.
Add a red in each half to try and intercept pass.
2 teams – at either end of the Area.
‘Resident’ Striker at one end.
GK’s at one end.
Reds – Attack – practice combining in own half as they progress.
Blues – Defend own half – if they win possession – counter attack.
Play offsides if appropriate.
Look for wall passes, overlaps, take overs etc.
FORWARD PASSING GAME
Each team has a target player on different and opposite sides of the pitch. They can move up and down the line but not into the playing area.
Game starts when a blue target player plays the ball into a team mate.
Objective of the game is to get the ball to the opposite target player to score.
If the defending team gain possession they can attack either target player.
Rotate target players regularly.
Objective is to complete a pass across the square, or across two sides trying to split the defenders.
Defenders try to intercept.
All passes on the ground.
Introduce a support player inside the grid to pass the ball to.
Start from the back at either end.
Play out to ‘full back’ – or Neutral in midfield who combine to pass it on to the wide player on their side or the forwards.
Wide forward combines with the neutral (yellow) & other forward to get the ball to target which is a trigger for the full back to move to receive.
Build up rotation and use of the neutrals.
Build in more for the targets.
Free the players up to make up their own patterns.
Start with the ball in the hands on a ‘micro pitch’.
T1 – ONE TOUCH PLAY
Area split into thirds with 2 ‘drop in’ zones
Balls with GK’s
Play in zones as seen to start
Challenge: Try to play one touch forward to the zone in front.
Drop the ball in a safe zone to start.
Develop to one touch, free & then not safe.
Try to keep the shape but not position. In this example – 3:4:2
Change or adapt – overloads – teams – rules.
Allow teams to overload etc.
Reds are 2-0 up but have 2 players less, there is only 12 minutes to play.
If reds score again the game is over.
BALL RETENTION, PASSING, DRIBBLING & SHOOTING
Attackers combine to attack any of the goals.
Following a goal or interception game restarts from coach’s service.
BALL CONTROL AND RECEIVING 1
Pitch spilt into 4 sections – 2 players of the same bib colour in each section.
In each section the players pass the ball to each other using different parts of the foot.
Move from side to side pointing or saying where you want the ball to be played – control and pass back. Quicken the tempo.
Turn the game into 4 players (one ball) who say the name of the player they are to pass to.
BALL CONTROL AND RECEIVING 2
Players play 4v2
The defending team try and win the ball back 3 times before swapping roles.
Attackers win by successfully completing 10 passes.
2 passes are awarded if a player can pass between 2 defenders.
BALL CONTROL AND RECEIVING 3 (TARGET)
Players play 2v2
2 neutral players act as support for both teams.
Players combine and play ball to teammate in the opposite half (minimum of 2 passes in the defensive half). The players then try and pass to the target player – if they are successful they gain a point.
Play can either swap to the opposite team or stay with the same team to attack the opposite end.
Neutral players can be added to either team.
When the ball is played forward a player from the defensive half can make a supporting run and join the attackers.
POSSESSION AND PASSING FORWARD
Pitch split into thirds
Each team occupies a zone to start.
Ball played into end zone from the middle area.
Teams in the end zones have to work to get the ball from end to end through the middle zone.
Players from middle zone can press the ball leaving the remaining players in the middle area to intercept passes.
Team that gives the ball away goes into the middle.
If the team in the middle wins the ball back they can attack any end.
Rotate teams and modify challenge.
DPOSS1 – DEVELOPING POSSESSION
2 teams + 1 Neutral player. GK’s at either end.
Game is for the first team to score – they then cannot score again until either: The opposition regain possession and score or the coach decides (timed).
Team who has scored – need now to keep possession of the ball in order to win the game.
Team who is 1-0 down – need to score, if they do they cannot score again but the opposition can.
When a team scores bring on the neutral player to play for the team who needs to keep possession.
Make sure the pitch is big enough.
2 Equal teams or outnumber a team
Balls at either end
Start from scoring area which is a safe zone for the team defending that goal.
Score either by shooting from your own half or by scoring inside the ‘scoring area’.
Give each team a challenge ie. Reds can shoot from anywhere Blues have to score from inside the ‘scoring area’.
This practice Can have an attacking or defending emphasis.
Attackers (reds) start with the ball in their defensive half and try to reach 3-5 passes before one player breaks out and attacks the lone yellow defender in the other half.
If yellows win the ball early they can score in the reds goal.
If the lone yellow defender wins the 1v1 contest in the other half, he can attack the reds goal.
The red striker has to drop out of the game and recover around the outside of the pitch and return to the game from the red goal line or until the coach blows a whistle making a temporary 4v3 in favour of yellows.
Area size: Appropriate for age & ability.
Develop as required.
Time the reds possession rather than number of passes and blow a whistle to trigger the break out.
Great for changing speeds of attacks and 1v1’s.
Play as shown.
The middle zone is a safe zone and the team in possession can use the zone either for a forward to drop into to collect a pass or a back player to drive into with a dribble or run.
No more than 2 attackers in the attacking half at any one time (optional for the coach).
But one extra player can play as a pivot player in the zone – this leaves 2v2 at the back.
Area size relevant for age & ability.
Encourage team in possession to get used to playing with a pivot type player.
Look for opportunities to counter attack.
Encourage players to rotate positions in front of the ball or anywhere where it can disrupt the defenders.
Gk’s can throw direct into forwards.
Progress to allowing only one free touch in the zone before pressure can be applied.
Great for starting to learn how to play between the lines of defenders.
The pivot can also shoot at goal if appropriate.
Divide the group into small groups.
4 gates 3 defenders who guard the gates but do not tackle.
The attacker plays 3v1 and tries to escape out of the free gate.
Defenders shuffle sideways to block the ‘escape’.
Work as a team of three.
Great for ball manipulation for the attacker and lateral movements and teamwork for the defenders.
Change roles – give everyone a chance of being an attacker.
Make sure the defenders do not try to tackle and stay moving around the circle to protect the gates.
All players in a square.
Lots of balls.
More players than balls (about 3 or 4 less).
The aim of the session is to keep possession.
Coach starts the game, where all players try to win possession of a ball.
When the coach blows the whistle, the players who have won a ball and have it at their feet score a point.
Great fun warm up.
Good for ball protection and dribbling etc.
Area size appropriate for age & ability.
Be careful of the physical mismatches and the players who never win a ball.
Think of ways for all to score.
6v4 +2 targets
Yellows play across the playing area using 2 target players to help them keep possession and score each time they work the ball from target to target.
Reds play with less players in the middle and if they win the ball back attack either goal.If yellows regain the ball, they can play direct to targets on the outside and play across the area again or the coach can restart the game.
Play with or without goalkeepers.
Area size big enough to enable success.
Reds pattern a set move – in this case GK rolls out to 1, who passes to 2, then on to 3, who sets back to 1 again. 1 then passes across to a yellow which triggers a 3v3 game.
Keep the area size realistic to the age group.
Let the players invent moves for themselves (or you can show them set moves).
This can apply to 4v4 or 5v5 for older more experienced players.
Think about playing this practice with one team outnumbered.
Can play with or without goal keepers.
ATTACK WITH 3
Divide area into 1/3s.
Team in possession and attacking – must drop a player back into the defending 1/3 (which becomes a safe zone) – attackers can only attack with 3 players. The game is then played in the other 2 zones.
If reds win the ball back, they can use the safe zone and attack with 3 against 4 defenders.
Try using the zone lines as offside lines.
Can play with or without GKs – if no GKs, score only in end zone.
Players should be encouraged to exchange positions as the game flows.
Area size – Typically 40×30 depending on age and ability.
Ideal for learning how to build patient attacks.
Develops quick thinking.
NO WAY BACK
Play 3v2 in each half.
Encourage forwards to play against 3 defenders.
Only play back in their own half if they need to in order to keep possession.
Players are not allowed out of the half they are set-up in.
Helps forwards practice playing while being outnumbered and develops ball protection skills and development of ‘escape’ strategies.
Play offsides if appropriate.
Area size, according to age and ability.
Smaller area will lead to more ‘contact’