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Passing Drills and Games
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Passing Drills and Games
Manchester United Passing Drill
There are four players inside the square with 2 balls.
Three players work on the sides of the square and one
player woks on the inside. The practice starts when
player “1” passes to player “2” (center player). After
passing the ball player “1’ must quickly run to the open
cone. Upon receiving the ball, player “2” has to quickly
identify the free player and pass the ball to him.
After releasing the ball, player “2” receives a pass from
player “4”. The practice then is continued in this manner.
The center player is always looking to receive the ball
and pass to the open player. The outside player is always
looking to pass and mov to the open cone.
Liverpool Passing Game
Divide group into two team of eight. Identify each team
with colored bibs. Place four players on each team in
different zones as in the diagram above. Use one ball.
The object of this game is for the four players with the
ball to try and penetrate the opposing four players and
find one of their team in the opposite zone. If the
opposing team intercepts the ball, they now try to
penetrate by passing the ball. Play unrestricted then
develop to “two touch”. Change zones.
Juventus Reverse Passing Drill
This exercise is designed to work on each players’
passing skills, with an emphasis on the "reverse pass".
There are three players inside the square. The practice
starts with player “1” making a run with the ball to the
vacant cone. Upon reaching the cone player “1” plays a
“reverse” pass to player “2”. Player “2” makes a run with
the ball to the vacant cone. Upon reaching the cone
player “2” and plays a “reverse” pass to player “3”. Player
“3” makes a run with the ball to the vacant cone. Upon
reaching the cone player “3” and plays a “reverse” pass
to player “1”. The drill is continued in this sequence.
Perform drill in opposite direction to work on both feet.
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Passing Drills and Games
Burnley FC Possession Game
Divide group into two teams of eight. Identify teams using
colored bibs. Place 4 players on each team in the square
and place four players from each team outside the
square (one on each sideline). Start off with free play
(unlimited touches). Play 4 v 4 inside the square. The
team in possession can use their team mates on the
outside to keep ossession. This makes it a 8 vs 4
situation for the team with the ball. If the defending 4 can
win the ball, they can then use their four team mates to
make it 8 v 4 in their favor. Every time a team gets 8
consecutive passes a goal is awarded.
Burnley Possession with Striker
Place a striker or target man inside a 5 yard square in the
middle of the grid. Start off with free play (unlimited
touches). Play 4 v 4 inside the square. The team in
possession can use their team mates on the outside to
keep possession. This makes it a 8 vs 4 situation for the
team with the ball. If the defending 4 can win the ball,
they can then use their four team mates to make it 8 v 4
in their favor. Every time a team gets 8 consecutive
passes a goal is awarded. Every time a team can play a
pass to the striker in the box a goal is awarded.
Defenders cannot enter the strikers box.
Mexico 2 v 2 Passing Game
This is a good attacking exercise that emphasizes
disciplined passing and movement. It develops good
passing techniques, good movement and first touch.
Place four players (2 v 2) in the center of the square and
two players at opposite ends of the square. The object of
the game is for the two players in possession to find the
target man with a pass. If they find the target man’s feet
they score a goal. The player who passes the ball
switches with the target man and the pair now attacks the
opposite side of the square. In this manner the target
man is frequently changing with the flow of the game..
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Passing Drills and Games
Liverpool Playing Through the Lines
Start the practice with one ball per team. Each team
circulates the ball around the playing area. Play “two
touch”. Each team gets a point every time they can make
a pass “through the lines” using a “one touch” pass.
1. Same as above but now there is only one ball and
teams compete against each other. Can progress using 2
balls.
2. Penetration is a key component in passing. Players
should be encouraged to run into space and pass into
space.
3. Play through or down the channels.
4. Be aware of shape when receiving the ball.
Creating Numbers Up - focus on 2v1
Position two equal teams in the center channel. Place a
striker and defender in each attacking channel (as is
diagram above). A team must make 8 passes before
passing to the striker. Once the pass is made, one player
must quickly support the striker to make a 2v1attacking
situation. Try to create width with possessing the ball to
create passing channels. Quality ball to striker’s feet.
Body position to play forward passes, open your stance.
When do you support behind the striker or in advance?
Newcastle Passing Awareness
Two groups are positions as in diagram above. Ensure
that there is a minimum of 6 players per group of this drill
will not work. Each group has a ball and they pass the
ball around the rectangle and follow their pass.
 Change direction of the drill.
 Emphasize good body position when receiving
the ball, (open stance).
 Condition players to use “two touches, then one
touch”.
 Play a “give and go” pass with the receiver.
 Play a pass to receiver, then long diagonal pass
to next player diagonally.
Introduce a second ball for each group.
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Passing Drills and Games
Man City Passing Game (Part 1)
A team of 5 players are placed in each square with one
ball. The team is restricted to their own square. Players
must pass the ball quickly around their own square,
following these instructions;
Restricted to "Two Touch" only.
Restricted to "One Touch" only.
Passing player must shout out a number "One or Two".
Receiving player has that amount of touches.
Passing player must shout out a number "One or Two".
Receiving player do the opposite.
Players must pass the ball without talking "Total
Silence".
Man City Passing Game (Part 2)
A team of 5 players are placed in each square. One team
starts with the ball. The team is restricted to their own
square. They team in possession must obtain 10
consecutive passes to get a goal. Two players from the
opposite team move into the square to make it a 5 v 2
situation.
If the ball is won by the two defenders, the drill is
swapped to the opposite square. Now 2 blue players
must defend. Alternate which players are defenders. As a
pre-curser to this activity you can have the teams player
handball 5 v 2, then move to possession drill.
Man City Two Direction Game
This is a good attacking exercise that emphasizes
disciplined passing and movement. It develops good
passing techniques
Players are divided into 3 teams of different colors. 6 v 6
with 6 resting around the perimeter of the field. One team
attacking goals 1 & 2, the other team attacking goals 3 &
4..
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Passing Drills and Games
Dutch High Tempo Passing Drill
Player "A" and player "C" start with a ball.
Player "A" passes to player "B", player "B" passes to
player "C". Player "C" passes back to player "B", player
"B" passes to player "A" This sequence is repeated
continually.
At the same time; Player "C" passes to player "A", player
"A" passes to player "B". Player "B" passes back to
player "A", player "A" passes to player "C"
Note: an "L" shape is formed with the passes.
Emphasize fast paced passes, limit to "2 touch", "side on"
body position to receive the ball. Work for 10 minutes.
Progression – Play "1 touch"
Arsenal 6 v 6 Four Goal Game
This possession game is designed to work on; one and
two touch passing, quick spins and turns, angle of
support, and body positioning when receiving the ball.
Players are divided into 3 teams of different colors. 6 v 6
with 6 resting around the perimeter of the field. One team
attacking goals 1 & 2, the other team attacking goals 3 &
4. Then, One team attacking goals 1 & 4, the other team
attacking goals 3 &2.
Arsenal 6 v 6 Three Zone Game
This is a good attacking exercise that emphasizes
disciplined passing and movement. It develops good
passing techniques, good movement and first touch.
Divide group into two teams of six. Identify teams using
colored bibs. Place 2 players on each team in zone.
Players are restricted to their zones. Players are allowed
“three touches” in the end zones and only “one touch” in
the middle zone. If there are no goalkeepers in goal it
must be a “one touch finish” or an “all net” goal.
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Passing Drills and Games
Barcelona Three Man Passing Drill
Place two players on opposite sides of the square.
Position one receiving player in-between (as in diagram
above). The outside players can either pass to the inside
player, or the player at the opposite side. Upon receiving
the ball, the inside player can either "turn" or "spin" with
the ball and pass, or play a quick series of passes with
the player facing him.
The end player can also make himself available for the
pass by moving to the side, and creating a better passing
angle to receive the ball to feet. Rotate middle player
frequently.
4 v 1 Play to Target
The four attacking players attempt to keep possession
from the defender and obtain 6 consecutive passes. After
making 6 passes the players must pass the ball forward
to the "target man" at the end-line of the opposite grid.
Once the ball has been played to the target man, players
1, 3 and 4 move to the opposite grid to support the target
man. The defender follows the play and attempts to win
the ball in the opposite grid. Player 2 now becomes the
new target man. After obtaining 6 passes the ball is
switched back to the original grid. The practice is
repeated in this fashion. Players in possession are
awarded one goal for each time they find the target man.
Rotate working defender frequently to ensure high
pressure. Rotate players so each player performs the role
of the target man.
Spurs 3 v 3 Game
Play 3 v 3 in the grid with the other 2 groups around the
outside of the grid. Players on the outside are restricted
to "one touch" passing. The three players in possession
must try and keep the ball from the defenders. The
players move anywhere within the grid and use the
outside players to pass to. The defender's goal is to
disposes the players in possession and also attempt to
achieve 10 consecutive passes.
First team to reach 10 consecutive passes wins. Winners
stay inside. Next 3 come into the middle to compete
against winners. Players inside should start with unlimited
touches then practice conditioned to "two" and "one"
touch.
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Passing Drills and Games
Two against Two
Two versus two in the middle with one neutral player on
each side of the square who may be used as a link. The
four outside players may move up and down their lines.
The player with the ball may pass it to his partner or
make use of the four supporting players, who then give
the ball straight back to the pair from whom they have
received it from.
Swap defenders regularly.
Three versus One
Three players are positioned within a grid 10 yards by 10
yards. The three players must try and keep possession
from the defender. The three players in possession may
move anywhere within the grid. The defender's goal is to
disposes the players in possession.
Players in possession are awarded one goal for 10
consecutive passes. Rotate players so each player
performs the role of the defender.
Three versus Two
Three players are positioned within a grid 10 yards by 10
yards. The three players must try and keep possession
from the two defenders. The three players in possession
may move anywhere within the grid. The defenders goal
is to disposes the players in possession.
Players in possession are awarded one goal for 10
consecutive passes. Rotate players so each player
performs the role of the defender.
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Passing Drills and Games
Barcelona Warm Up Passing Drill 1
This warm up drill combines quick exchange of passes.
It is also designed to integrate passing in relation to the
positional play of the 4-3-3 system. The exercise begins
with player (1) playing a "Give and Go" pass with player
(2). The player (1) plays a pass to player (3). Player (2)
then changes position with player (1). Player (3) then
repeats the exercise with player (1).
Focus On: Quick exchange of the ball, quality passing.
Pace, weight and accuracy of pass, Timing of pass,
Check away from passer to create space, Concentrate on
good preparation touches, Eye contact with passer
Barcelona Warm Up Passing Drill 2
This warm up drill combines quick exchange of passes,
turning with the ball and running with the ball. It is also
designed to integrate passing in relation to the positional
play of the 4-3-3 system.
The exercise begins with player (1) passing to player (2).
Player (2) turns with the ball and passes to player (3).
Player (3) then dribbles quickly to the starting position.
(where player (1) started). Variation: Player (1) passes to
player (2), who sets for player (1) to pass long to player
(3). Player (3) then plays a "give and go" with player (2)
then dribbles quickly back the start position.
Barcelona Warm Up Passing Drill 3
This warm up drill combines quick exchange of passes,
turning with the ball and running with the ball. It is also
designed to integrate passing in relation to the positional
play of the 4-3-3 system.
Coaching Points:
The exercise begins with player (1) passing to player (2),
who then passes to player (3). Player (3) the dribbles
quickly back to the start position. Variation: Player (1)
passes to player (2), who then passes to player (4).
Player (4) passes to player (3), who then passes to
player (5). Player (5) passes to player (6) then dribbles
quickly.
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Passing Drills and Games
Follow Ball Drill
This practice is designed as a simple passing drill which
can be used in any warm up session or a pre-curser to a
passing session. Players pass the ball "clockwise" from
cone to cone. After they pass the ball to the next player
they must quickly run to the next cone. Effectively
working their way around all the cones. Limit to "2
touches". On the coach's command, players reverse
direction without interrupting the tempo of the drill.
Emphasize fast paced passes!
Use inside and outside of the foot.
Work for 10 minutes.
Diagonal Passing Drill
The 2 players start diagonally opposite each other.
Moving anti-clockwise, Player "A" dribbles the ball to the
first cone and plays a diagonal pass for player "B" to run
onto. Player "B" dribbles the ball to the next cone and
plays a diagonal pass for player "A" to run onto. This
sequence is repeated moving around the square. First
players are allowed unlimited touches, but quickly
condition the practice to "two touch".
Change direction of the drill and work on opposite foot.
Pre-Scanning Game
This is a great game for developing vision for players. It
focuses on "pre-scanning" and "post-scanning"
techniques. Players are divided into 4 teams of different
colors. Start with one ball, then add a second ball.
Players pass the ball inside the square to any player.
Every player should be scanning the field to be aware of
their passing options before they receive the ball.
Pre-Scanning Once a rhythm has been established,
the receiving player must call out; The color of the person
they have received the ball from. The color of the player
closest to him (Scan over shoulder) The color of the
player he is going to pass to.
Post Scanning The player who is farthest away.
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Passing Drills and Games
Passing Square Two Touch
Place 2-3 players at each flag pole. Start with one ball.
The first player with the ball dribbles to the next flag pole
on the right and gives it to the next player who does the
same. This is repeated around the square. This will get
the players warmed up for the exercise. The Square
passing drill starts with the player with the ball passing to
the first player at the next flag to the right. The ball is
played firmly across the ground with pace. First players
are allowed unlimited touch, but quickly condition the
practice to "two touch". A second ball should be added as
soon as the players have established a good tempo.
Change direction of the drill and work on opposite
foot.
Passing Square One Touch
Place 2-3 players at each flag pole. Start with one ball.
Player "A" starts the practice by passing to player "B" and
he follows his pass. Player "B" has made a timed run to
receive the ball. Player "B" passes "one touch" to player
"C" who has made a timed run. Player "C" passes "one
touch" to the next player in sequence. The routine is
repeated around the square in this manner. Players
should time their runs. Don't get ahead of the ball!
Progression:
A second ball should be added as soon as the players
have established a good tempo. Change direction of the
drill and work on opposite foot.
Passing Square "Give and Go"
Place 2-3 players at each flag pole. Start with one ball.
Player "A" starts the practice by passing to player "B" and
he follows his pass. Player "B" passes the ball back to
player "A", spins around the flag pole and receives a one
touch return pass from player "A". Player "B" the repeats
the movements by passing to player "C" and he follows
his pass. Player "C" passes the ball back to player "B",
spins around the flag pole and receives a one touch
return pass from player "B". The practice is repeated
around the square in this manner. Players should time
their runs. Don't get ahead of the ball!
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Passing Drills and Games
Passing Square Two Touch
Place 2-3 players at each flag pole. Start with one ball.
The first player with the ball dribbles to the next flag pole
on the right and gives it to the next player who does the
same. This is repeated around the square. This will get
the players warmed up for the exercise. The Square
passing drill starts with the player with the ball passing to
the first player at the next flag to the right. The ball is
played firmly across the ground with pace. First players
are allowed unlimited touch, but quickly condition the
practice to "two touch". A second ball should be added as
soon as the players have established a good tempo.
Change direction of the drill and work on opposite
foot.
Passing Square One Touch
Place 2-3 players at each flag pole. Start with one ball.
Player "A" starts the practice by passing to player "B" and
he follows his pass. Player "B" has made a timed run to
receive the ball. Player "B" passes "one touch" to player
"C" who has made a timed run. Player "C" passes "one
touch" to the next player in sequence. The routine is
repeated around the square in this manner. Players
should time their runs. Don't get ahead of the ball!
Progression:
A second ball should be added as soon as the players
have established a good tempo. Change direction of the
drill and work on opposite foot.
Passing Square "Give and Go"
Place 2-3 players at each flag pole. Start with one ball.
Player "A" starts the practice by passing to player "B" and
he follows his pass. Player "B" passes the ball back to
player "A", spins around the flag pole and receives a one
touch return pass from player "A". Player "B" the repeats
the movements by passing to player "C" and he follows
his pass. Player "C" passes the ball back to player "B",
spins around the flag pole and receives a one touch
return pass from player "B". The practice is repeated
around the square in this manner. Players should time
their runs. Don't get ahead of the ball!
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Passing Drills and Games
Passing Square "Short and Long"
Place 2-3 players at each flag pole. Start with one ball.
Player "A" starts the practice by passing to player "B" and
he follows his pass. Player "B" passes the ball back to
player "A", spins around the flag pole. Player "A" passes
a diagonal ball to player "C", who lays the ball on for
player "B" to pass long to player "D". The routine is
repeated around the square in this manner starting from
player "D". Players should time their runs. Don't get
ahead of the ball!
Passing, Communication & Balance 1
The exercise starts with the players in a large circle 15-20
yards. In the diagram above, player “A” passes the ball to
player “B’. Player “A” must make a run into a space
between 2 players, but he CANNOT follow his own pass.
As he runs into space, players “C” and “D’ must quickly
close the gap he created and balance the circle. The
object of the exercise is to make sure the circle is always
balanced. The practice can be made more challenging by
adding another ball.
Coach should develop a high tempo rhythm as quickly as
possible.
Passing, Communication & Balance 2
The exercise starts with the players in a large circle 15-20
yards. In the diagram above, player “A” passes the ball to
player “B’. Player “A” must make a run into a space
between 2 players, but he CANNOT follow his own pass.
As he runs into space, players “C” and “D’ must quickly
close the gap he created and balance the circle. The
object of the exercise is to make sure the circle is always
balanced. The practice is more challenging because now
a defender is added to win the ball.
Coach should develop a high tempo rhythm as quickly as
possible.
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Passing Drills and Games
Penetration when Passing
Make two team of six players, divide each team into two
groups of three. Position players as in the diagram
above. All groups are restricted to the respective grids
and cannot tackle the opposition. The red team starts
with possession of the ball. The object of the game is to
the move the ball quickly within their own grid until an
opening appears to play forward to another red player in
the opposite grid. The red team is award a goal if the can
find a red team mate with a pass. The red team again
attempts to keep passing the ball between each other to
score points. If the yellow players intercept the ball, they
too try to score points by passing back and forth in
between the red players. The ball may not be played
above head height. Coach should develop a high tempo
rhythm as quickly as possible.
Quick Decisions when Passing
Four players are positioned within a grid (3 attackers + 1
defender). The three players must try to keep possession
from the defender using 2 balls. The three players in
possession may move anywhere within the grid. The
defenders goal is to "tag" (not tackle) the players in
possession. The defender can be identified by using a
colored vest or by having them hold a cone. Once a
player is tagged by the defender they switch roles. A goal
is scored for every ten passes the attackers can make.
The supporting player without a ball must always work to
offer the deepest and widest possible angles for the
players in possession.
Give and Go Drill
This practice is designed to improve the technical ability
of the “Push Pass” as it relates to a "give and go"
situation. Emphasis should be placed on “pace, accuracy
and timing”.Players at each end of the grid alternate
playing a "give and go" with the receiving player facing
them in the center of the grid. Once the player receives
the ball back from the center player they must pass it to
the player on the opposite side of the grid to repeat.
Players should keep score. A goal is awarded for every
completed "give and go" with a quality pass forward.
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Passing Drills and Games
Setting the Pass
This practice is designed to improve passing and support
with an emphasis on the "setting the pass". Using a group
of players set up a circle with a player at each cone.
Player "A" starts with the ball and plays the ball to player
"B". "B" then “sets the pass” back to player "A". Player
"A" passes the ball to player "C" who “sets the pass”
for player “B”. Player "B" passes the ball he receives from
player "C" to player D.
D passes to C
C passes to E
E passes to D, who plays the ball to A
F passes to the ball to E, and E plays the ball back to
player F.
Hit the Ball
This practice is designed to improve the correct
mechanics involved in the execution of the “Push Pass",
with an emphasis on accuracy.
Two players are positioned in a grid 20 yards x 20 yards.
One player starts the practice with two balls. The player
passes the first ball to their partner to control and redirect
approximately 2 to 5 yards in front of them. They then
pass the second ball for their partner to redirect and try to
hit the first ball.
One Touch, Two Touch
Two players are positioned in a grid 10 yards x 10 yards.
The practice starts when one player passes the ball to
their partner. At the same time they pass the ball they
must shout out either "one" or "two". When receiving the
ball their partner must take as many touches as the
number called. If the number is "one" they must pass the
ball back first time. If the number is "two" they must
control the ball on their first touch and return the pass on
their second touch. When returning the pass to their
partner they also call out a number.
Players are awarded a point for every mistake that their
partner makes. First player to get five points wins. Rotate
so different players compete against each other.
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Passing Drills and Games
Speed Passing
Divide players into pairs, one ball between two.
The players stand opposite each other behind the
cones. The cones are placed 4-5 yards apart.
The players must pass the ball back and forth between
the cones using the “Push Pass”. The ball must be kept
on the ground and struck firmly enough to cross the
cones. A point is scored for each pass that crosses the
line on the ground. The players are given a 30-second
period to see how many successful passes they can
make. At the end of the period, the coach compares
scores with other groups. Increasing the distance of the
cones to make the practice more challenging.
Knock Down the Cone
This practice is designed to improve the mechanics
involved in the execution of the “Push Pass” with an
emphasis on accuracy. Four players are positioned in a
grid 10 yards by 10 yards. Players work in pairs with their
partner on the opposite side of the grid. On the coach’s
command, the first pair to knock down the cone in the
center of the grid wins. One of the losing pair must stand
up the cone after it is knocked down.
First pair to knock down the cone 5 times wins.
Arsenal Possession Game 1
8 v. 2 in a 10 x 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
Coaching Points
• 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
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Passing Drills and Games
Arsenal 4v2 +1
4 v. 2 + 1 in a 15 x 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.
Coaching Points:
The key is to keep shape big – the middle possession
player cannot restrict space – he needs to create space.
Outside players look to play ball in when they can and the
middle player plays out in 1 touch
Arsenal 6v3 +1
6 v. 3 + 1 in a 25 x 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 right midfielder and right defender
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 center form the
possession group. The middle 3 defenders play 3 v. 1 in
the middle with limited touches
Arsenal 3v1 to 5v3
3 v. 1 to 5 v. 3 in a 20 x 15 yard area and a 10 x 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 defense and deny the through ball
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Passing Drills and Games
Arsenal 6v3 Change Over
6 v. 3 with constant change-over in a 30 x 25 yard area
Play 3 teams of 3 in different colors. 2 colors combine
and play against the 3rd color. When the defending team
wins the ball, the team that turned the ball over becomes
the defending team. It is always 2 colors v 1 color. 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
Arsenal 4v4+2 with Goalkeepers
4 v 4 + 2 with keeper in a 30 x 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.
Arsenal 4v4 +2
4 v. 2 + 2 in two teams in a 30 x 20 yard area Play 4
groups of 2, each in a different color. 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 color 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
19
Passing Drills and Games
Arsenal 4v2 in 2 zones with GK
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 2 v. 1 to
leave the zone and then play 2 v. 2 in the other zone
trying to score a goal. The 2 waiting 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 4 v. 2
Arsenal 4+4 vs 4+4 with GKS
BUMPER!! 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
Coaching Points:
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
Arsenal Transition Game
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.
Coaching Points:
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.
20
Passing Drills and Games
Real Madrid Zone Possession
Game
To develop possession play with high pressure in
limited space and time. Description 8 v 8 (+4 Neutral
Players) In an area 20 yards x 20 yards, we split the
pitch into 4 grids which are 10 yards x 10 yards each. In
each grid we have a 2v2 situation. We also have 4
neutral players who can move all the way along their
side of the square without entering the grids. The
neutral players play with the team in possession. If a
team completes 8 passes or keeps the ball for 10
seconds they win 1 point. If a team passes through all
the grids without losing possession they get 2 points.
Different Rules: 1) Unlimited touches for regular players
and neutral players are limited to 1 or 2 touches. 2) 1 or
2 touches for all players
Position Specific 7v7 (+1) Game
7 v 7 (+1 Neutral Player) In an area 20 yards x 25
yards, we have 7 grids. In the central zone, we
have 1 large grid which is 12 yards x 12 yards and
2 smaller grids which are both 2 yards x 12 yards.
We have 4 grids on the outside which are 16 yards
x 5 yards. In the large central zone, we have 3v3
(+1 neutral player). In the side zones, we have
wide players (full backs & wide forwards) in 1v1
situations. In the end zones we have a central
defender (red 4 and white 5) and in front of them
we have the striker (9). The central defender can
enter the striker’s zone, but the striker cannot enter
his. The striker can only press the central defender
from his zone with the objective of
preventing/intercepting a pass. If a team
completes 6 passes or keeps possession for 8
seconds they get 1 point. If a team passes the ball
through all the grids without losing possession they
get 2 points.
Rules 1. The central defenders and the side
players have 2-3 touches, strikers and the neutral
have 1 touch, inside players with unlimited
touches. 2. The central defenders and the side
players have 2 touches, strikers and the neutral
have 1 touch, inside players with 2-3 touches.
21
Passing Drills and Games
Red Bull Passing Drill 1
1. Player 1 passes ball to player 2.who passes to Player
3 far foot. 2. Player 3 shows sideways on and takes touch
with far foot (Right) toward player 4. 3. Player 4 takes
touch with far foot (Left) and passes to Player 1.
4. Player always move to left side. after making their
passes.
1. Body position (Sideways on)
2. Open door (hip)
3. Let the ball travel to far foot.
4. Cushion on contact in direction of next decision
5. Work ethic when moving off the ball.
Holland Passing Drill 1
Triangle passing (plus variations)
Passing distance 10-15 mtrs. Check to ball explosively
(last moment before pass), make contact with passer
Play ball with pace, no bounce or spin. First touch so ball
can be played directly as 2nd touch. Wall pass at correct
angle and pace. Left and right
Holland Passing Drill 2
Triangle passing (plus variations)
Passing distance 10-15 mtrs. Check to ball
explosively (last moment before pass), make
contact with passer. Play ball with pace, no
bounce or spin. Wall pass at correct angle and
pace. Left and right
The last exercise can also be made "open":
players choice own passing and running options
22
Passing Drills and Games
Transition Game
What do I get the players to do?
We set up a box in the shape of a St
George’s fl ag, using cones to mark
out the internal lines. The yellow team
starts with the ball, passing amongst
themselves and keeping possession in
one box. The red team of three places
a player in each of the vacant boxes,
while the grey team begins in the
center. In this instance, the grey team
acts as defenders. One enters the
three- man box, attempting to win
possession from the yellows, whose
task is to keep the ball for five passes
before transferring it to any red.
Should they succeed the other reds
now move to the square where
possession is, yellows move to
individual squares, and a new grey
defender comes forward to break up
play (his team-mate returns to the
center). Should the ball be intercepted
by a grey defender, he must attempt to
pass out to a team-mate. If he
succeeds, rotate teams so that the
yellows (who lost possession) become
defenders.
23
Passing Drills and Games
Chelsea Passing and Receiving Drill
What do I get the players to do?
We begin the session with a passing and
receiving practice aimed at developing
first touch, angled passing, support play,
plus movement and awareness. The
initial blue attackers combine to find the
white player (no.10), who receives open
to play forward to the supporting runner
or either of the attacking players at the
opposite end. We are looking for quick
and precise play with a controlled
approach. The practice continues from
one end to the other before rotating the
central players every minute. We
progress using two white central players
working together to combine in a way
you may expect the no.8 and no.10 to
link up. This progression allows for
additional combinations that we would
expect from the team in the attacking
half. The key to both practices is the
awareness of movement, precision of
the passing and decision making on the
ball from all players. As the practice
develops we expect to see an increase
in tempo, intensity and communication.
We’ll rotate players regularly so they can
all experience the roles of the no.8 and
no.10
24
Passing Drills and Games
Brazil Passing Boxes
What do I get the players to do?
Moving on, we take the practice into
semi-opposed boxes that provide
two challenges for the players. In the
first example the no.10 is restricted
to the small central box, while the
remaining blue attackers occupy the
outer 12x12-yard area. Two white
defenders protect the area in
between as blues attempt to retain
patient possession of the ball before
recognizing when they can play
through the no.10. The attacking
players are restricted to a maximum
of two touches with a point received
for 10 consecutive passes and two
points awarded for playing through
the no.10 to retain possession. In
the second box, the no.10 is now
free to find his own space in relation
to the ball, opposition defenders and
his team mates. We are looking for
the players to make good decisions
on the ball and to assess the
risk/reward of when to play through
the no.10.
25
Passing Drills and Games
Possession through the #10
What do I get the players to do?
Taking the theme into a more opposed practice, the possession-based transfer practices
challenge the spatial and visual awareness of the players beyond a traditional transfer game.
Two teams of five attackers occupy 20x10-yard areas, and when in possession are opposed
by two defenders. In a central 10x5-yard zone, two attackers are opposed by a single
defender. The attacking team completes a minimal number of passes before transferring the
ball to the other attacking team.
If they play through the no.10 (blue or white) they achieve a point. If they transfer through or
over (without using the no.10) they retain possession but receive no points. In the second
game only a defender occupies the central zone. As possession builds (whites), a blue must
recognize when, where and how to drop into the zone to receive, get half-turned and play into
his own color. If this is achieved, a point is awarded.
26
Passing Drills and Games
Aston Villa Passing Drill
What do I get the players to do?
Wide to middle Setting up as shown on
a 30x10-yard area, we use six players
per practice area. Wingers begin with
a ball each in this continuous drill.
They play a 10-yard pass inside, then
follow (1a). Receiving inner midfielders
must be inventive as they move
through the mannequins, playing a
pass out the other side (1b). They then
remain in place to receive the next
pass and the move continues (1c).
How do I progress the session?
We tell wingers to create quick and
precise combination play and one-twos
with team mates around the
mannequins. We can alter the style of
passes – quick, to left and right feet,
chipped, even driven.
27
Passing Drills and Games
Possession through the Thirds
What do I get the players to do?
Passing and penetration For the first
drill, we have two groups playing 4v2
(defenders versus attackers) in a
25x25-yard area, with a further four
players around the outside. The server
feeds in to the two reds, who must
keep possession playing one- or twotouch (1a). When the defending team
wins the ball, outer reds now enter to
challenge 6v4 (1b). Again, once
possession is turned over again,
players reset and play continues.
Rotate the two central red attackers
every two minutes. This practice
rehearses movement, angles, short
passes, body shape, weight of pass
and decision- making. Playing
between the zones.
28
Passing Drills and Games
Tottenham Hotspur Passing Drill
What do I get the players to do?
Warm-ups 90secs work, 30secs rest
For the first warm-up, we set up as
shown (1), in a 20x15-yard area.
Player 1 passes the ball across to
player 2, who takes it and feeds into
player 3. This man then turns the
mannequin and passes on to player
4, where the cycle is repeated
again. We’ll then run it on the other
side of the area.
For the second warm- up (2),
player 1 passes all across the grid to
player 2, who plays in to player 3.
This man sets the ball back to his
man and makes a run around the
mannequin. Player 2 now sets the
ball down the channel for player 3 to
receive and play on to player 4,
where the cycle is repeated. Again,
run it both ways. Possession drills
6mins work, 90secs rest The first
possession drill (3) is a 4v4 with
overloads provided by two floaters
(who play for the team in possession
to make a 6v4). In a 25x25-yard box
this is three-touch at first,
progressing to all-in. Next, we mark
off the corners and play 5v5 (4).
Eight passes must be completed
before a point can be scored – this
is done by a player dribbling into a
corner.
29
Passing Drills and Games
Argentina Passing Circuit
What do I get the players to do?
Training circuit (1) Players pass the ball in a
straight line and work through the ladders or
cones to the back of the group at the other
side. We can vary this drill by making it twoand one-touch, or might instruct different
movement on the ladders or through the
cones.
Man City through the Lines Drill
What do I get the players to do?
In this drill, the ball is played across the central
midfielders and into the wide player, who
steps in to play as the ball arrives. He moves
the ball on first time.
Man City through the Lines Drill 2
What do I get the players to do?
In the progression, the player steps in,
controls, turns, then passes it out the other
side, ensuring the run is made outside the
wide mannequin. The timing of the movement
here is vital in terms of receiving the pass and
moving it to the right man whilst playing
between the lines. We will also add in
variations to keep players on their toes – for
instance, instructing quick one-twos with the
end player.
30
Passing Drills and Games
Man City through the Lines Drill 3
What do I get the players to do?
This drill looks at the timing of rotation. Here,
players on the corners pass into the middle then jog
down the side ready to rotate with the central player.
As the corner man runs towards his team mate, he
instructs as to where and how the switch will occur,
enabling the two individuals to comfortably achieve
the learning objective, namely to understand the
rotation and the clearing space for a team mate to
run into.
Wigan FC Penetration Game
3v1 practice
Set up as shown (1a), and in a 30x10- yard area,
with three teams of three. Players in possession aim
to work the ball past the central defensive team and
into the far area, either by playing through or
beyond their opponents (1b). Each team can move
into a neighbouring box to pass, receive or close
down; and there must be a minimum of four passes
before the ball can be transferred either through or
over the defenders. Rotate teams regularly.
Ajax Passing Circuit
Exercise 1: • Player B “checks away” to begin
movement. • Player A passes to player B, and
supports the pass. • Player B drops the pass and
spins to the outside of the disc and runs to take up
Player C's position. • Player A plays a longer
diagonal ball to Player C. • Player C receives ball
and runs with it, to the end of the nearest line.
Exercise 2: Same initial movements as in Exercise
1, but now player E (B) moves to support F (C) after
he drops to Player D (A). As in Exercise 1
movement should be occurring on both sides
simultaneously. Variation: Players can serve the
longer pass through the air.
31
Rondo Drills and Games
32
Rondo Drills and Games
Fundamental Rondo
For basic rondo a 10 yard x 10 yard grid is fine for 6v2 all
the way up to 9v2. For smaller numbers like 3v1, 4v1 or
4v2 make the grid a tiny bit smaller. I prefer tighter
spaces if the players can handle it. If you see players are
having a lot of difficulty keeping the ball make the grid
bigger, increase the number of touches allowed, and
even eliminate one of the defenders. It may take some
time, but eventually players will become more skilled at
rondo and keeping rhythm in possession will be possible.
Moving Rondo
Players look to complete four passes and then play their
teammates into the open grid. The group at the point all
has to run into the open grid following the pass. Players
do not have to run keeping the shape of a circle. Once
they get into the next grid they can regain the shape of
the circle and look to complete four passes again before
sending ball into the open grid. The players in
possession can make more than four passes in the same
grid but they can’t play in the open grid before four
passes are completed. You can change the number of
passes and players to adjust for skill level. This is a high
energy and free flowing game of rondo that the players
enjoy.
Two Team Color Coded Rondo
One grid will be playing 8v2 for example. The other grid
will be passing the ball in circle with no defenders.
Every player in the game has a partner. Partners wear
the same color bib/vest. You can do five or six colors
and even repeat some colors. If the defenders win the
ball the person who gave the ball away and his partner
must run to the other grid and be the defenders. This is
very challenging because defenders may be running from
behind you into the circle looking to steal the ball.
Players must be scanning and always looking around to
see where the pressure may be coming from. The
energy and intensity levels in this version are always very
good. Players do not want to let their partners down or
stay in the middle pressuring the ball that long.
33
Rondo Drills and Games
Line Passing Rondo
The coach will instruct the group in first line and second
line passes. Game One: Players are not allowed to
make any first line passes (cannot pass to person next to
you) only second and third line passes. Game Two: After
any first line pass the next pass must be second line or
third line. Feel free to throw in your own rules and
variables. This game works very well to increase
concentration in rondo while increasing passing vision,
speed of play and thought. Use the same rules as
fundamental rondo.
Rondo to Possession to Rondo
Example: Rondo Grid #1 10x10 - will have 7 Red players
and 2 yellow defending players. Rondo Grid #2 10x10 will have 7 Blue players and 2 yellow defending
players. The defenders do not change in the middle for
the rondo. After two rotations of the exercise you can
switch the yellows out. Let the two grids play rondo for 23 minutes and then call “Combined Play”.
This will mean the 7 Red will play against the 7 Blue with
the 4 Yellow being neutral players who help the team in
possession. The game is two touch and players can go
anywhere in the larger square grid which can be around
35x35 for 18 players. After 1 minute the coach will say
“rondo” the teams will go quickly back to their own rondo
grids and to continue their rondo play.
Rondo To Passing & Fitness
The basic idea here is to get creative with the transition
between rondo and another training drill that makes
sense. I like to transition from rondo to either passing
patterns or fitness. I set up the grids close together so
the transition is quick. When the Coach calls “rondo” the
players engage in rondo and when “passing” or “fitness”
is called the group rotates to those drills. I like to time
these, so I typically spend 3 minutes rondo and 3 minutes
passing patterns or fitness. You can design it the anyway
you like. The important part is that there is little down
time in transition and players are always training focused
and well.
34
Rondo Drills and Games
Sliding Player Rondo
10 yards x 10 yards in which players form circle.
They can go outside the grid a foot or so but the idea is to
keep the circle shape and not make the circle larger.
Sliding rondo is simply rondo with a player who can slide
into the middle and help keep the ball with the rest of the
team. The middle player can either stay the entire time or
take turns sliding in and out of the middle at any time.
I like having the middle player sliding in and out as
another player takes his spot in fluid motion without the
game being stopped. It adds another layer of complexity
and teamwork to the exercise.
Rondo Push Up Game
10 yards x 10 yards in which players form circle.
They can go outside the grid a foot or so but the idea is to
keep the circle shape and not make the circle larger.
Key Points and Objectives:
After a player passes the ball, he must perform a
"Push Up" and recover as quickly as possible to be
available for another pass.
9v4 Rondo
Divide group into 2 teams. One team has a ball and jogs
around the grid with the ball in their hands. The working
players must move quickly around the grid receiving the
ball from the servers. Severs throw ball for the player to
control using the head, chest, thighs and feet. Alternate
roles every 60 seconds.
Make a competition by seeing who can get the most
touches in 60 seconds. Players may not receive the ball
consecutively from the same player. Only award a point if
the player controls the ball and plays it back without the
ball hitting the ground. Develop to passing “one touch”.
35
Rondo Drills and Games
Cognitive Rondo: Ball Toss
This game is the same as fundamental rondo but with a
change. Start with one soccer ball or tennis ball that a
selected player will hold in their hands. The player must
toss the ball to another player while rondo is being played
to another player. The ball is continuously tossed
(underhand) as long rondo is being played. The players
are now forced to concentrate on two separate tasks at
the same time. They must be aware of two tasks, the ball
being tossed and the rondo being played. Players are
forced to process information non-stop in cognitive
rondo. The game can be played 10v2 to start with one
ball being tossed. Once the players become better at the
game add another ball to be tossed and caught. In the
diagram the yellow circles represent the balls to be
tossed.
Rondo to 10v2 One Touch
The game is 1 touch only. Players should not be in a
circle like rondo. They need to be moving inside the grid
all the time on the balls of their feet ready to play one
touch. The two defenders have the bibs/vests in their
hands and try to win the ball. If a defender wins the ball
or it goes outside the grid he throws the bib to the players
who gave the ball away. The game should not be
stopping. Have a coach outside feeding balls in right
away as soon as the ball is hit out of the grid. Arsenal FC
uses this drill and it is one of my personal favorites. It
teaches quick play, one touch passing and movement off
the ball. This 10v2 one touch game is played in the same
10x10 grid as your rondo so the transition is seamless.
Game Related Rondo Transition
This is a touch two game with players set up in position
specific spaces on the field. Each team has two center
backs, two outside wing backs, defensive center mid,
passing center mid, attacking center mid and a
forward. There is also one neutral player on the field
playing for the team in possession. The neutral player
helps the ball move swiftly. The objective is to move the
ball from your backs through the midfield and to your
forward. Once the forward receives the ball, the team will
attempt to move the ball back to the defenders without
losing possession. Once possession is lost, players
must work hard to get the ball back. Both teams are set
up the exact same way trying to accomplish the same
tasks. Outside players are located in safe zones so
inside players can’t come out of the field and take the ball
from outside players. The teams on the inside can only
play to their own players on the outside.
36
Shooting Drills and Games
37
Shooting Drills and Games
Fun Volley Challenge Game
Divide your team into to equal groups. Place one player
from each group in front of the goal. The first player from
each group serves the ball (using both hands) over the
crossbar for his teammate to volley into the open net.
The ball cannot hit the ground. it must be "all net". If the
player successfully volleys and hits the net, he quickly
sprints to the end of the line and the server becomes the
next person to volley. First team to get every player to
score a volley wins. If the player does not score, he
keeps trying until he does. They cannot swap until the
player scores. Progression of game: Server must scoop
the ball over the crossbar using his foot, no hands
allowed. Receiver must control the ball first "one touch"
then volley the ball. Can us head, chest, thighs or feet.
Chelsea Attacking Game
Players are divided into two team of six. Two wide zones
are marked out as in the diagram above. The center zone
is slit into half’s. In the teams attacking zone, place 2
wide players. In the central zones play 2 v 2. All players
are restricted to their zones. Wide men cannot chase or
tackle each other. They must stay in their half. The
goalkeeper starts the practice by distributing the ball to
one of his wide attackers in the attacking half. The winger
controls the ball as quickly as possible and delivers a
cross for his two attacking players. Progress to allowing
the opposite wide player to get into the box on the back
post to make it a 3 v 2 attacking situation.
Argentina Crossing & Shooting Drill
Servers alternate delivering crosses into the penalty area
for the 2 attacking strikers. Servers should aim for the
“second 6 yard box”. The 2 striker start at the two cones
on top of the “second 6 yard box” once they enter the box
they must cross over, attacking front and back post.
After the attack has ended they must leave the “second 6
yard box” and reenter for the second cross delivered from
the opposite wing. After strikers have 2 attacks the join
the group outside the box. An attacker runs forward and
takes a shot. Two more attackers now move up to the
“second 6 yard box” and the drill is repeated.
The goalkeeper has to deal with the cross then quickly
adjust his position to save the shot at goal.
38
Shooting Drills and Games
Holland Crossing & Finishing Drill
This is a great practice that incorporates passing and
support, crossing, shooting and goalkeeping.
Players are divided into four groups. Position players as
in the diagram above. The practice starts when player “1”
passes to player “2” and times a run to attack the penalty
area. Player “2” passes to player “3” and turns to attack
the penalty area. Player “3” passes out wide to player “4”
(third man running) and follows to attack the penalty area.
Player “4” attacks the flank and delivers the ball for
players 1, 2 and 3”. After the attack the players jog back
and the practice is repeated by the next 4 players.
4 Goal Drill - One Touch Finish
Divide your players into three even teams of 4, 5 or 6
players. Identify team by using different colored bibs.
Organize your playing area as shown in the diagram
above. Two teams play while one team rests. The object
of the game is to score a goal using "one touch". The play
is free play but a goal must be struck "first time" and must
be all net (ball may not cross goal line on the ground).
When a goal is scored, the winner stays on and the
losing team swaps with the resting team. First team to get
three straight victories wins!
4 Goal Drill - with Goalkeepers
This is a progression from the "One Touch Shooting
Drill". Divide your players into three even teams of 4, 5 or
6 players. Identify team by using different colored bibs.
Position a goalkeeper in each goal. Organize your
playing area as shown in the diagram above. Two teams
play while one team rests. The object of the game is to
score a goal using "one touch". The play is free play but a
goal must be struck "first time". If the goalkeeper makes a
save they must throw the ball out to the opposite team.
When a goal is scored, the winner stays on and the
losing team swaps with the resting team. First team to get
three straight victories wins!
39
Shooting Drills and Games
Shooting at Four Goals
This is a great practice to develop finishing, crossing and
goalkeeping. If you don't have four goals use corner flags
as goals.
In an area approximately 40 yards by 40 yards place four
goals as in the diagram above. Divide your team into two
groups. Player 'A" makes a driven pass to player "B".
Player "B" controls the ball and delivers a cross for player
'A". Player 'A' can finish to the goal on his right or left.
The drill is then repeated from the opposite side.
Barcelona Cross and Shooting Drill
Players work in pairs attacking the goal. Player “2”
passes the ball down the line for player “1” and then
makes an attacking curved run to the first goal. Player “1”
takes 3 touches and crosses the ball for player “2” to
strike at goal. After strike the ball, player “2” turns and
now becomes the wide player to cross the next ball. After
player “1” crosses the ball he then receives a through
pass from the coach and attacks the second goal to try
and score. After shooting he now jogs back to the end of
the line.
Norwegian Crossing & Shooting
This is a great practice that incorporates crossing,
shooting and goalkeeper.
Three groups of players are position 30 yards from goal
as in the diagram above. The practice starts when player
“1” dribbles the ball forward and attacks the goal and
shoots. After the shot, player “1” checks to player “2”,
receives a pass from player “2” and plays it back “one
touch”. Player “2” then attacks and shoots at goal. After
the attack, player “3” attacks the flank and crosses the
ball for player “1” and “2” to score. Both players should
perform a cross over, attacking front and back posts.
40
Shooting Drills and Games
Real Madrid 3 v 1 Shooting Game
This practice is a high tempo shooting exercise designed
to improve accuracy and power in shooting, transition
and attacking combination play. This is also a good work
out for your goalkeepers.
Place 3 attackers and 1 defender in each half of the field.
Players are restricted to playing in their own half of the
field, as in the diagram above. Goalkeepers are placed in
both goals. The object of the game is to create a
numbers up situation when attacking to score goals. The
goalkeepers may throw the ball out directly to the 3
attacking players.
Arsenal 7 v 7 Shooting Drill
This practice is a high tempo shooting exercise designed
to improve accuracy and power in shooting, transition
and attacking combination play. This is also a good work
out for your goalkeepers.
Play 5 v 5 inside with 2 attacking target men for each
team. Positioned target men either side of the goal, as in
the diagram above. Goalkeepers are placed in both
goals. The object of the game is to create numerous
attacking opportunities by thinking and playing forward as
quickly as possible. Attacks have to be played off the
target man before you can score. Swap target men
regularly.
Shooting 3 v 3
Players are divided into groups of three. Each group is
identified with a different color vest. Two groups are
placed inside the penalty area, the remaining groups
positioned outside the perimeter of the box. A goalkeeper
is placed in goal. The coach starts the practice by serving
the ball into the penalty area. Players play 3 v 3. First
team to score stays on. Losers leave grid and position
themselves on the outside of the grid. New team comes
into box. Teams stay on as long as they keep winning.
Team in possession can use outside players to pass too.
Players on outside limited to "one touch" Coach should
keep track of goals scored and make a competition
amongst the players. First team to get 4 consecutive wins
are champions. from outside players. The teams on the
inside can only play to their own players on the outside.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Germany - Four Goal Game
Place 4 goals in an area 30 by 30 yards. Divide group
into four teams of 4-6 players. Identify each team by
using colored bibs. Place a team on each goal line.
Yellow play White and Red play Blue. Two games are
being played simultaneously in the square. The object of
the game is to score in the opponents’ goal. Players on
the line act as goalkeepers, but may not use their
hands. Players are must stay on the goal line. If a player
leaves the goal line a penalty is awarded. Start playing 1
v 1 the progress to 2 v 2, 3 v 3.
Shoot then Defend
This is one of those practices that players love to do. Its
high tempo, fun and develops both offensive and
defensive skills. It also gives your goalkeeper a great
workout. Divide your team into two groups. The first
player in group "A" dribbles the ball forward and shoots at
goal. Immediately after shooting the ball he must defend
against the first player in group "B". When the attack
ends, the player from group "A" returns to his group and
the player from group "B" now defends against the next
player in group "A". This sequence is repeated
throughout the drill.
Chelsea Shoot and Defend Game
Divide players into two equal groups. Groups are placed
diagonally opposite, as in the diagram above.
Goalkeepers are placed in both goals. Two flag poles are
positioned in the middle of the area. Each player has a
ball.
The practice starts when player “1” attacks the flag pole,
performs a body feint and shoots at goal. After shooting
he must transition quickly from attack mode to defense
and sprint across the square to defend player “2”. Player
“2’ is attacking the opposite goal. After he shoots he then
must defend. After defending players return to their own
groups.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Holland Box Shooting Drill
Two flag poles are positioned 20 yards from goal and 15
yards apart. Players are divided into four groups. Two
groups with balls, stand either side of the goal. Two
groups stand at each flag pole, as in the diagram above.
A goalkeeper is placed in goal. The practice starts when
the first player in “group 1” passes to the first player in
“group 2” and follows his pass. The player in “group 2”
has only “one touch” to control the ball then he must
shoot at goal. He then follows to join “group 4” on his
right. The player in “group 3” passes to the first player in
“group 4” then runs behind the goal to “group 1”. The
player in “group 4” has only “one touch” to control the
ball then he must shoot at goal. He then follows to “group
3”. In effect, each player serves twice and shoots twice,
in that rotation.
Holland Two Touch Shooting Drill
Two flag poles are positioned 20 yards from goal and 15
yards apart. A group of players with balls, stand to the
side of the goal. One player stand at each flag pole, as in
the diagram above. A goalkeeper is placed in goal.
The practice starts when player “1” passes to player“2”
and follows his pass. Player“2” has only “one touch” to
control the ball then passes across to player “3” and
follows his pass. Player “3” has only “one touch” to
control the ball then he must shoot at goal. He then
sprints behind the goal and join the group beside the
post.
Through Ball Drill with Defender
Divide your team into two groups. Place a goalkeeper in
goal. Position players and cones as in the diagram
above, with a player positioned at each cone. A defender
from the opposite group is positioned in the penalty area.
Groups alternate attacking the goal. The practice is
performed in the following sequence. Player "A" passes
to player 'B" and follows the pass to take the place of
player "B". Player "B" runs with the ball towards player
"C" and then plays a through pass for player "C" to run
onto. Player "B" takes the place of player "C". Player "C"
runs onto the through ball and tries to beat the defender
and score a goal. After the attack is ended player "C"
then becomes the defender against the opposite
group. The practice is then repeated by the opposite
team. Coach should keep track of goals scored and
make a competition between the two groups.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Pass - Follow - Shoot Drill
Position a group of players with a ball each beside the
goal. Place a goalkeeper in goal. Position players and
cones as in the diagram above, with a player positioned
at each cone. The practice is performed in the following
sequence. Player "A" passes to player 'B" and follows the
pass to take the place of player "B". Player "B" passes to
player 'C" and follows the pass to take the place of player
"C". Player "C" passes to player 'D" and follows the pass
to take the place of player "D". Player "D" attacks the goal
and tries to score a goal. After the attack is ended player
"D" joins the end of group. Progression: Now after you
shoot you must defend the next shooter.
Dribble and Shoot
A small group of players are placed at the side of each
goal. Players have a ball each. First player in each group
dribbles the ball towards the cone. At the cone the player
performs a dribbling move (using the pole as an
imaginary defender. The player then quickly attacks the
penalty area and finishes with a shot on goal.
After the attack is finished, players jog behind the goal
and join the group at the opposite side.
Coach should keep track of goals scored and make a
competition amongst the players.
The Shooting Race
A group of players with a ball each are placed at opposite
goals. Two goalkeepers are positioned in goal. Identify
groups using colored bibs. A cone is placed in the middle
of the goals. On the coaches command, the first player
from each group dribbles around the cone and has to
score as quickly as possible. The first player to score
wins a point for their team.
After shooting, players join the end of their group.
The practice is then repeated by the next players in line.
Coach should keep track of goals scored and make a
competition amongst the teams.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Liverpool Shooting Game
Position two equal teams in the center channel. Place a
striker and defender in each attacking channel (as is
diagram above). A team must make 8 passes before
passing to the striker. Once the pass is made, one player
must quickly support the striker to make a 2v1attacking
situation.
 Try to create width with possessing the ball to
create passing channels.
 Quality ball to strikers feet.
 Body position to play forward passes, open your
stance.
 When do you support behind the striker or in
advance?
Man United Turning to Score Game
The field is split into “defensive” and “attacking half’s”.
Attackers and defenders are restricted to their half of the
field. The practice starts with the goalkeeper distributing
the ball to one of the defenders. To allow forward passes,
the forwards are not allowed to pressure the defenders.
They should drop to “one knee” when the defenders have
the ball.
The object is to play a quality pass to one of the striker in
the attacking half. The attacker must try to “turn” and
score whenever possible. The strikers can also combine
with each other to create scoring opportunities. Rotate
the groups frequently to allow defenders the opportunity
to play as strikers.
Brazil Dribble or Run Game
Place two equal teams in the middle channel. Players are
restricted to the middle channel until they can get 8
consecutive passes. Once the string 8 passes together, a
player can run through the middle area at try to beat the
goalkeeper in a 1v1 situation. Defenders are not allowed
to run back and chase the attacker.
After 8 passes a player may is also choose to attack
through the wide “gates”.
If he does, he must attack the wide space and cross the
nd
ball for a 2 runner to try and score. After each attack,
the coach should serve the ball quickly for a team to take
advantage of a “numbers down” situation. This will also
demand the strikers to recover quickly after attacking.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Brazil Through Ball Game
This small sided game is designed to accomplish two
goals; a). Encourage the use of quick combination
passes to create goals and b). Playing the through ball to
score goals. Position two equal team of 5v5, 6v6 etc. in
one half of the field.
One team is restricted to that half of the field and they
must score using a combination of quick short passes to
try and score a goal. The other team tries to score in the
opposite goal as a result of a “through ball”. They must
play a through ball for a runner to beat the goalkeeper in
a 1v1 situation. Progress to allow one defender to chase
back with the attacker.
Arsenal 4v2 with Goal
4 v. 2 in a 15 x 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.
Coaching Points
• 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.
Real Madrid Shooting Drill 1
This shooting drill is designed to develop “one touch”
build up passing with a shot at goal.
Divide your players into three groups and position as in
the diagram above. The practice starts with player #1
passing to player #2. Player #2 passes the ball back to
players #1, who then plays a diagonal pass to player #3.
Player #3 sets up player #2 for a “give and go” pass, then
he looks to finish on goal. All passes in the sequence
should be “one touch”. Each player then moves onto the
next position to switch roles.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Real Madrid Shooting Drill 2
This shooting drill is designed to develop “one touch”
build up passing with a shot at goal.
Divide your players into three groups and a striker, and
position as in the diagram above. The practice starts with
player #1 passing to player #2. Player #2 turns and
passes to players #3, who then plays to the feet of player
#4 (striker). Player #4 sets up player #3 for a “give and
go” pass, then he “spins” to make a run into the box for
rebounds. Player #3 attacks the space and tries to score
a goal. All passes in the sequence should be “one touch”.
Each player then moves onto the next position to switch
roles
Real Madrid Shooting Drill 3
This shooting drill is designed to develop “one touch”
build up passing, crossing and shots at goal.
Divide your players into four groups and position as in the
diagram above. The practice starts with player #1
passing to player #2. Player #2 passes the ball back to
player #1, who then plays a diagonal pass to player #3.
Player #3 sets up player #2 who plays a driven pass out
wide for player #4.Player #4 attacks the wide space and
delivers a quality cross for player #3. Player #3 must
attack the space in the box and try to score. All passes in
the sequence should be “one touch”. Each player then
moves onto the next position to switch roles.
LA Galaxy Shooting Drill 1
This is a fun shooting exercise designed to develop
“quick reactions” when going to goal. Players love
this drill.
Divide your players into two groups and position as
in the diagram above. Two players from opposite
sides play “one touch” passes to each other
between the 2 middle cones. When the coach
shouts “Left” or “Right” the players leave the ball
and quickly react to receive a pass from the
goalkeeper to finish “first time” on goal. The first
player to score is the winner!
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Shooting Drills and Games
LA Galaxy Shooting Drill 2
This is a fun shooting exercise designed to develop
“quick reactions” when going to goal. Players love this
drill.
Coaching Pointers:
Divide your players into two groups and position as in the
diagram above. Two players from opposite sides play
“one touch” passes to each other between the 2 middle
cones. When the coach shouts “Left” or “Right” the
players leave the ball and quickly react to receive a pass
from the goalkeeper. They then must control and turn and
attack the opposite goal and try to score.
The first player to score is the winner!
LA Galaxy Shooting Drill 3
This is a fun shooting exercise designed to develop
“quick reactions” when going to goal. Players love this
drill.
Coaching Pointers:
Divide your players into two groups and position as in the
diagram above.
Two players from opposite sides play “one touch” passes
to each other between the 2 middle cones. On the
coach’s “whistle” the players pass their ball into space
and then “spin to receive the other players pass to attack
the goal and try to score. The first player to score is the
winner!
LA Galaxy Shooting Drill 4
This is a fun shooting exercise designed to develop
“quick reactions” when going to goal. Players love this
drill.
Coaching Pointers:
Divide your players into two groups and position as in the
diagram above. Two players from opposite sides play
“one touch” passes to each other between the 2 middle
cones. On the coach’s “whistle” the player who as
possession of the ball becomes the attacker and can
attack any goal to score. The other player must chase as
the defender.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Bayern Munich Shooting Drill 1
Divide your players into three groups and position one
striker and one defender as in the diagram above. The
practice begins with player #1 passing the ball to the
striker feet. The defender must allow the striker to have
one touch before he can tackle. Wide players #3 and #4
make supporting runs out wide. The striker must play the
ball out wide to either player #3 or #4. The wide player
who received the ball must attack the space quickly and
deliver a quality cross into the box. After playing the ball
out wide the striker spins and attacks the space in the
box. The opposite wide midfielder must also attack the
back post area. The defender has to try to prevent them
from scoring. Rotate roles so everyone has the
opportunity to play each position.
Belgium Shooting Partner Drill 1
This Belgium shooting drill is a great game to emphasize
the importance of combining with a partner when going to
goal.
Coaching Pointers:
Position your players as in the diagram above. Two
forwards start inside the field (players #2 and #3). They
must be mobile and make intelligent runs. Player #1
passes to either #2 or #3. In this example; player #2
receives a pass and combines with his partner #3. Both
players combine to get a shot on goal. For the next
attack, the shooting player is replaced by player #1.
Belgium Shooting Partner Drill 2
Divide your players into three groups and position as in
the diagram above. Two forwards start inside the field
(players #2 and #3). They must be mobile and make
intelligent runs. Player #1 passes to either #2 or #3. In
this example; player #2 receives a pass and combines
with his partner #3. Both players combine to get a shot on
goal. Immediately after the strikers take a shot at goal,
the right sided midfielder attacks the space and crosses
the ball for the 2 forwards. The forwards must now adjust
their movement to position themselves to shoot.
Then the left sided midfielder attacks the space and
provides another cross for the strikers. On the next
attack, the two forwards become wide midfielders, the
wide midfielders become the servers (#1) and the server
players become the new strikers.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Red Bull 2v2 Drill
Instructions:
1. Movement of players as shown
2. Neutral player plays the ball to red team and players
play 2v2.
3. Neutral player cannot come inside grid but can be an
option if the opportunity to go forward is not there.
4. Red score in goals. If defensive (blue) team win the
ball they receive a point by passing the ball to the
neutral player.
Red Bull Shooting Drill
A into B, B sets for C, C shoots, B and C then hold runs
for combination on other side.
1. A into B,C overlaps B as ball is played to B,B
plays through ball wide for C,C crosses for
strikers from previous combination
Striker C goes towards far post, Striker B goes towards
near post, Rotate players after a certain number of goals
or attempts to retain repetitions. Make it a competition
against the GK to keep players engaged if needed.
High Tempo Attacking and Defending
Players line up at each side of the marked area. The
coach will serve the ball to alternate ends, a player
receives, then moves forward supported by two teammates. Three players from the opposition team approach
from the other side. The aim of the team in possession is
to interchange passes, evade tackles and eventually get
the ball across the opposition line. A high tempo is
central to this move. If the ball goes out of play a new
ball is served – vary its delivery in terms of pace and
height. If an interception is made, the opposing team
goes straight on the attack. After a minute of game time
has elapsed, rotate players.
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Shooting Drills and Games
High Tempo Attacking & Defending 2
Progress onto a 5v5 game, adding a goal and
goalkeeper at each end. With more players, the
emphasis should be for attackers to break in pairs
and release runners. Defenders should aim to
squeeze and compress play by getting as tight in as
possible. Increase team numbers as suits, giving
consideration to also increasing the size of the
playing area, should the need arise.
Attacking Wing Play and Shooting
What do I get the players to do?
Use one defender, one attacker, two midfielders and
two wide players. This is a two-ball routine.
Positioned outside the D of the penalty box, the
midfielder links with the striker and has a shot. With
the second ball, the other midfielder switches the
play out wide. The two wide players combine and
put a cross in for the inrushing forward and attacking
midfielder. The defender tries to clear the ball. The
crosser must be aware of the defender’s position.
As a coach you can make the defender defend
either the near post or back post cross.
.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Quick Play in the Penalty Area
Divide 12 players into three teams. The whites have
a player on the right and left of the box, plus another
two along the 18-yard line, one either side of the
arc. They remain outside the box at all times. Inside
it, the blues set up to form a square, with reds in the
shape of a cross. The goalkeeper throws the ball out
to any white player. While it is in the air, the coach
calls out “yellow” or “red”. That team becomes
attackers, the other team defenders. The attacking
side must combine with the whites to get a shot in
on goal - effectively, as an 8v4 overload. The white
team plays one- touch and must only support, not
shoot. The session is played at a high tempo. When
a move comes to an end, restart with the a new
keeper. Keep players alert by only confirming who
the designated attackers will be when the ball is in
flight.
Quick Play – Progression
How do I progress the session?
Encourage attackers to turn and take on defenders
rather than laying a simple ball back to a white man.
Also experiment by adding an attacking player in the
‘D’ outside the 18-yard box. This player must stay in
this area and can shoot using one touch, or act as
an additional white supply man.
How would you put this into a game situation?
Use two penalty areas placed together with a goal at
either end to play a quick shooting game, 4v4 plus
two keepers. White players continue to play as
neutral – this time each patrolling a flank along half
a pitch. When possession is turned over, the
defending team can use their white flank player as a
forward outlet as they break into the opposition’s
half. Varying one and two-touch commands will also
have an interesting effect on the pace of the match.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Long Range Shooting
What do I get the players to do?
The long-range shooting session
starts by dividing a 36x18-yard pitch
into two halves. Goals can only be
scored from the defending half. We
set up four attackers in the defending
half, and another two in the attacking
half. The role of the two players
furthest forward is to set the ball back
for any one of their four team mates
to shoot at goal. It’s a high-intensity
practice, so players rotate every
three minutes. (1) Progressing to an
opposed practice, opponents now
attack the opposite goal - thus each
side has a 4v2 overload in their
defensive half. (2) While the set-up
men cannot be challenged when the
ball comes to them, they now also
have to act as defenders, closing
down play and attempting to win
possession. In addition, they can
follow in any rebounds from blocked
shots. (3) Whether a shot ends in a
goal or otherwise, a new attack must
come back in the other direction.
3v2 Boxes Challenge
Setting up as shown enables us to
coach defenders in coping with
multiple switches from left and right.
Each half of the pitch is 3v2, with an
additional defender able to move
across the halves to make a 3v3.
Play can be switched from zone to
zone, and is continuous for 2mins
before the central defender is rotated.
Defenders can move outside the
penalty area in closing down and
pressing attackers, but the main aim
is to lock attackers into one zone and
not allow them to switch play.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Crossing and Finishing
What do I get the players to do?
Setting up as shown, the attacker
moves from behind the goal, runs
around the pole and goes near-post
for a cross from the wing. The
crosser has to miss the mannequin
and aim to run to the near post for a
shot at goal. Now a player attacks
the other end (1a). On the next
attack, a player emerges from the
other side of the goal, and the same
crosser delivers a far-post cross
(1b). We continue running the
practice, now using the other two
crossers, and always delivering
alternating near- and far-post balls.
What are the key things to look
out for?
This session is about precise
deliveries and clinical finishes.
Missing the mannequin is essential,
and attackers, as a bare minimum,
must ensure they hit the target.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Belgium Crossing and Finishing Game
What do I get the players to do?
Crossing sequence Setting up as
shown (1a), we begin from position
B, with one blue touching the ball to
a team mate, who takes a touch
then shoots. A third blue now joins
and all three players move forward,
looking to get on the end of a cross
from a team mate at position A, to
the left (1b). A red defender in the
goalmouth attempts to stifle the
threat. Next, attackers turn to their
right, and a cross is delivered from
position C, on the right- hand side
(1c). After these attacks, three new
blues come into the area at position
B.
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Shooting Drills and Games
Manchester United Shooting Game
What do I get the players to do?
Then, on a half-pitch and with a
goal in each corner, players
combine measured
possession with goal scoring. They
can score in any goal, though
passes must be 18 yards or more.
To progress, we can add two gates,
as extra goal scoring options, or as
part of an instruction that the ball
must be passed through a gate
before a goal is attacked. Gates
must be placed near the center of
the practice, no closer than 10
yards from each goal line.
What are the key things to look
out for?
In every part of this session, ensure
players begin two- touch, with team
mates always providing angles at
which to receive the ball. The
consistent pattern of movement
should not be forgotten, and we
want to see players using the balls
of their feet... never flat-footed. And
any player in possession must be
pressured at all times, with excellent
work rate throughout and no-one
standing on the lines – that’s too
easy.
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Shooting Drills and Games
German Continuous 3v3 Attack Drill
What do I get the players to do?
Now we set up as shown (2a), play
beginning with a server by the bottom
goal. To kick off the move, the keeper
feeds out to unopposed attackers - one
moves forward with the ball and
shoots. After his shot, he runs to the
goal line then recovers. He’s now a
defender, because three blues enter
from that same goal line as attackers.
They can now attack the bottom goal,
3v2, until the other defender recovers
back (2b). From here, all players
attack, then defend (2c), before rotating
off the pitch on the coach’s call, but the
player taking the shot always has to
recover from the goal line for the
defending phase. If the keeper saves a
shot, the same ball is used, otherwise
the server introduces a new ball and
the player retrieves his effort. This all
adds to the requirement that players
must keep the transitions fast.
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Shooting Drills and Games
German 3v3 +1 Attacking Drill
What do I get the players to do?
Now altering the dynamics, teams start in their
attacking and defending zones before moving
forward. This new set-up adds yellow and blue
players to both sides of the central zone. We can
also place players at the end of pitches, in the
same way we did in ‘Continuous 3v3 attacks’ So
the keeper begins by passing to an incoming
yellow, who acts as a target man in a 4v3 attacking
situation (3). Upon completion of this attack, the
three attackers leave the playing area. When the
defenders have defended they attack with the next
ball against three new players who enter from the
other end. So in this practice all players defend
then attack.
How do i progress this game? Adding a channel
creates a notable change to attacking and
defending dynamics (4a). Each side channel is only
five yards wide, but yellows and blues can oppose
each other in this space, and the initial serve from
the keeper must go into this space. We also allow a
defender to move into the channel to close down in
a 2v1 situation.
The incentive here for the attacker is that by
retaining possession.
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Shooting Drills and Games
German Continuous 3v3 Attack Drill
What do I get the players to do?
Now we set up as shown (2a), play
beginning with a server by the bottom
goal. To kick off the move, the keeper
feeds out to unopposed attackers - one
moves forward with the ball and
shoots. After his shot, he runs to the
goal line then recovers. He’s now a
defender, because three blues enter
from that same goal line as attackers.
They can now attack the bottom goal,
3v2, until the other defender recovers
back (2b). From here, all players
attack, then defend (2c), before rotating
off the pitch on the coach’s call, but the
player taking the shot always has to
recover from the goal line for the
defending phase. If the keeper saves a
shot, the same ball is used, otherwise
the server introduces a new ball and
the player retrieves his effort. This all
adds to the requirement that players
must keep the transitions fast.
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Defending Drills and Games
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Defending Drills and Games
Defensive Recovery Runs
Players are divided into two small groups. A group is
positioned on each side of a grid 10 yards x 20 yards.
One player starts the practice by running with the ball to
the first player in the opposite group. When the player
with the ball reaches the first player in the opposite group
he stops the ball dead with the sole of the foot for the
player to run with the ball to the opposite group.
Immediately after giving the ball, player must chase the
player with the ball back to his group. He then joins the
end of the line of his group. There is no tackling for the
ball. The recovery player has to try and tag the player
with the ball on the back. The drill is repeated from each
side. The speed of the practice should be increased
gradually.
Red Bull 1v1 Drill
1. Area as shown (15 yards from gates to goal)
2. Two grids of 6 players (Right & Left side)
1. Blue player plays ball and runs around - between goals
ready to defend. 2. Red player takes 1st touch through
gates and plays to teammate. 3. Player continues pattern
and players play 2v1 to goals 4. If Blue player wins ball,
he/she must pass to teammate on blue cone to receive
pt.. 5. When play is over, Red players go to opposite line.
6. Switch Roles after 2 min.
Red Bull 2v2 Drill
1. Area as shown (20x15)
2. Two grids of 6 players
(extra attacking player waiting in line)
Instructions:
1. Movement of players as shown
2. Neutral player plays the ball to red team and players
play 2v2.
3. Neutral player cannot come inside grid but can be an
option if the opportunity to go forward is not there.
4. Red score in goals. If defensive (blue) team win the
ball they receive a point by passing the ball to the neutral
player
.
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Defending Drills and Games
Arsenal Defending Drill 1
Session starts with Pressure and Position (Left side)
1. When Player A passes to Player B, Player Y moves to defend against a return pass from Player
B. Player Y can move once the ball passes midway (red cone)
2. When Player B passes to Player A, Player X moves to defend against a return pass from Player
A. Rotate Players X and Y with Players A and B to ensure equal amount of defensive practice
Progressing to Pressure, Position and Patience (Right side)
3. Player B pass to Player Y who attempts to turn & pass to Player A. Player X defends against
this.
4. Roles reverse in the middle when it breaks down so both Player X and Y attempt to defend in
turn. Rotate Players X and Y with Players A and B to ensure equal amounts of defensive practice
Skill game (points to reward defending)
5. As on right side, but Players X and Y are awarded 2 points for preventing the pass, or 1 point for
pass completion.
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Defending Drills and Games
Closing Down and Pressurizing Play
What do I get the players to do?
We use 16 players in a 36x18 yard area – 8v4 in opposition with a further four resting. The team of eight
starts with the ball and must retain possession for as long as possible against four opposition players whose
job it is to close down and press. We’ll work this scenario at high tempo for 90 seconds to see how many
times the defensive team can win the ball. When that happens, it is returned to the coach who re- serves to
a player on the team of eight. At the end of each 90-second period, switch the defensive players with the
other group of four. Once this has been played out twice, the roles are reversed, with the eight players now
splitting into two groups of four to act as the defenders.
What are the key things to look for technically/ tactically?
In order for the four players to win possession, they must get close to the opposition, cut off passing lines,
and approach from all sides. Closing down is always done by the man nearest to the ball, and should be
attempted as quickly as possible. In an overload situation, an opponent who has possession should always
be ‘shown inside’. If not in an overload situation, the opponent should be shown to the outside.
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Defending Drills and Games
Back Four Shape
What do I get the players to do?
What do I get the players to do? Across three channels of 10 yards, two lines of four reds sandwich a line of
white defenders. The ball starts with a red; his team’s aim is to thread a pass through the line of white players
to a fellow red. To prevent that happening, the whites must retain solid defensive shape at all times, using a
blocking player. This member of the back four steps forward whenever his opposite number is in possession of
the ball. The blocking player’s team mates move in to cover the line of possible through- passes to the other
bank of four reds. The blocking player must not chase the ball, and if it gets switched to a different red, he
drops back and lets another designated team mate step forward. Defenders can allow passes down the left
and right channels. If a ball makes it to the other bank of reds, defenders turn and repeat the task.
What are the key things to look for technically/ tactically? The defensive line never chases the ball, but
must ‘recover on the diagonal’ – in effect, moving towards the blocking defender so as to cover all other
passing angles. The attitude of the backline in staying alert, keeping organized and communicating well is
essential. Distance and angle are crucial – if either of these are wrong then the whole back four set-up is
compromised. Defenders must move with the ball, squeeze, hold shape and be ready to drop onto the back
foot, without ever going to ground.
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Defending Drills and Games
Back Four Shape - Progression
How would you put this into a game situation?
We play on a half-pitch extended lengthways by 20 yards. A team of 10 attack 8 (plus a goalkeeper) with the
aim of scoring in a central goal. The team of 8 must attack two goals, 5 yards wide, marked out by poles in the
corners of the pitch. If in producing wing attacks, the reds force a full-back into a covering position away from
the back four, look for a white defensive midfielder to step back in to reform a solid organized backline. This
small-sided game is challenging because both teams are creating alternative ngles of attack, given that one
team is aiming at a central target while the other is directing play towards the flanks.
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Defending Drills and Games
Balancing the Back Four
What do I get the players to do?
Using a half pitch, we construct the back four, with six servers (number 1 to 6) scattered around the outside of
the box in a horseshoe pattern. Each server stands in a 7x7-yard square. A line of mannequins is placed 10
yards outside the penalty box. (1a) Each server, in turn, delivers a ball into the box, with variation between
lofted balls, whipped balls and fizzed centers. The objective for defenders is to head the ball clear over the line
of mannequins, achieving height and distance. They then quickly squeeze out before retreating back to their
starting positions. We run through 12 sets in quick succession before resting. (1b)
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Defending Drills and Games
3v2 Boxes Challenge for Defenders
What do I get the players to do?
Setting up as shown enables us to coach defenders in coping with multiple switches from left and right. Each
half of the pitch is 3v2, with an additional defender able to move across the halves to make a 3v3. Play can be
switched from zone to zone, and is continuous for 2mins before the central defender is rotated. Defenders can
move outside the penalty area in closing down and pressing attackers, but the main aim is to lock attackers
into one zone and not allow them to switch play.
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Defending Drills and Games
Defending in and around the Box
What do I get the players to do?
What do I get the players to do? 6v4 attack Setting up as shown (1a), the back four defends just in front of the
six-yard box, with three attackers in the penalty area and a further three around the edges. The server starts by
playing the ball to an attacker. If it goes to the right midfielder, the left midfielder can enter the box (1b).
Attackers have two minutes to score a goal, and if successful, a new ball is played in. If possession is
overturned, defenders – who can only defend inside the area – must play the ball into the server or pass into
one of the wide goals. Doing this successfully takes a goal off the attackers’ total. Play for two minutes, then
rest for two minutes, then go again, rotating if desired.
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Defending Drills and Games
Ajax Defending the Box Drill
What do I get the players to do?
To set up we cone down the sides of the six-yard box to the 18-yard line, forming three small boxes. Extending
the box outwards to 21 yards in length gives us more room to play in, and an additional 6x4-yard box offers a
set start position where balls are served in from. It’s 2v2 - red defenders versus blue attackers - in the box, with
free play. Blues on the outside are one-touch and the offside rule applies. Defenders must track play, reacting
quickly to passing movement and blocking shots on goal. Red defenders score a point for winning possession
and passing it back to the serving blue. Blue attackers get a point for scoring in the goal.
Left and right sides
Attackers must use left and right ‘outer’ players in sequence, so if the first attack is on the right, the second
must come from the left. Outer players can also pass between each other, but as before, must do this onetouch.
69
Defending Drills and Games
AC Milan Defending Crosses Drill
What do I get the players to do?
Box delivery
We set up as shown (1a), with seven
servers around the box ready to send in
crosses for the four defenders and
keeper.
Each server is numbered, and on the
coach’s call, that player delivers,
although different servers have to send
in different types of crosses: Servers 1
and 7: a chipped or driven cross Servers
2 and 6: an out swinging cross (1b)
Servers 3 and 5: an in swinging cross
(1c) Server 4: a straight ball For each
ball delivered, defensive team mates
must organize around the player whose
task it is to clear the ball.
What are the key things to look out for?
When the ball is being delivered, defenders must be ready to react, so the body position needs to be correct.
This means being able to see not only the ball, but space around them where opponents might be.
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Defending Drills and Games
3v2 Boxes Challenge for Defenders
What do I get the players to do?
Setting up as shown enables us to coach defenders in coping with multiple switches from left and right. Each
half of the pitch is 3v2, with an additional defender able to move across the halves to make a 3v3. Play can be
switched from zone to zone, and is continuous for 2mins before the central defender is rotated. Defenders can
move outside the penalty area in closing down and pressing attackers, but the main aim is to lock attackers
into one zone and not allow them to switch play.
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Defending Drills and Games
Defensive Positioning of the Back Four
This session will focus on Making Play Predictable, Low
Pressure Defending and Defensive Team Shape.
Organization:
Back Four Defenders and Goalkeeper
Half Field
Supply of Balls, 5 Flag Poles, Full Size Goal
Coaching points:
Five Flag Poles are placed across the pitch as in the
diagram. Flags are numbered 1 to 5. The back four are
positioned evenly across the edge of the penalty area.
When the coach shouts a number between 1 and 5, the
back four must rapidly pressure the flag pole and acquire
a balanced, even shape as a defensive unit.
Focus on:
Moving across the field quickly and evenly.
Body shape, open stance.
Communicating as individuals.
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Defending Drills and Games
Back Four and the Midfield Four as a Unit
This session will focus on the Defensive Shape of the
Back Four and the Midfield Four as a Unit.
Organization:
Back Four Defenders, Midfield and Goalkeeper
Half Field
Supply of Balls, 5 Flag Poles, Full Size Goal
Coaching points:
Five Flag Poles are placed across the pitch as in the
diagram. Flags are numbered 1 to 5. The back four are
positioned evenly across the edge of the penalty area.
When the coach shouts a number between 1 and 5, the
back four must rapidly pressure the flag pole and acquire
a balanced, even shape as a defensive unit.
Focus on:
Moving across the field quickly and evenly.
Body shape, open stance.
Communicating as individuals.
73
Heading Drills and Games
74
Heading
Drills and Games
Chelsea Heading Drill
This is a fun attacking heading game to start off your
practice session.
Divided your group into two teams. A player from one
team starts off as the goalkeeper. The coach serves the
ball from the sideline. The first player on the opposite
team runs forward to head the ball and try and score past
the goalkeeper. After the attempt, the same player then
becomes the goalkeeper. The first player from the white
team then attacks the goal and tries to score a header.
This sequence is repeated. First team to score 5 goals
wins.
Brazil Heading Game
Four players are positioned in a grid 10 yards x 10 yards,
using one ball. The players are divided into teams of 2.
The practice starts with 2 attacking players and (2
defensive players who are restricted to the middle zone).
The attacking players attempt to head the ball over the 2
defensive players. Each time they head the ball over the
defensive players they get a Goal. The players can head
the ball from their own hands or head the ball back if they
receive a good serve from their partner. If the player
heads the ball from their own hands and are successful,
they get "one goal". If they can return a header without
catching the ball they get 2 goals. If their partner can
return a header it's worth 3 goals etc. If the players in the
middle block, or catch the ball, they now switch roles with
the attackers. First team to score 5 goals wins.
Head or Catch
Players alternate serving the ball to each other.. As the
player serves the ball he shouts one of two commands
"HEAD" or "CATCH". If he shouts, "HEAD" - the player
must do the opposite and catch the ball. If he shouts,
"CATCH" - the player must do the opposite and head the
ball. The player receives a goal for every successfully
performed header or catch. If the player heads the ball it
must be headed back to their partners hands, if they
catch the ball he must then serve for his partner.
A competition can also be played. First to 5 points wins.
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Heading Drills and Games
German 2 v 2 Heading Game
The players are divided into teams of two. Both sets of
players defend a goal marked by the cones. The players
act as goalkeepers and may use their hands to stop a
header. Goals are scored with a header between the
cones and under head-height of the players.
The practice starts with one server heading the ball to his
partner. They can head the ball back and forth as they
advance closer to the opposite goal. If they take 4
headers and score they are awarded 4 goals. A goal for
each time they head the ball. The two goalkeepers must
try to stop the header. When they catch the ball they are
now the attackers.
Attacking Heading 2 v 2
The practice starts with one server throwing a straight
throw from the nearest sideline for their partner to head at
goal. The player heading the ball must head from the
goal-line. The two goalkeepers must try to stop the
header. When they catch the ball they also must serve
from the nearest sideline and head at goal. The players
must always keep the correct sequence; no player may
have two headers in succession. If a team defending can
head the ball back at goal without first catching the ball
they can score 2 goals for a double header, 3 goals for a
triple header and so on. After the server throws the ball to
his partner he must quickly return to his goal line to
defend the goal. A supply of balls should be placed
alongside the grid to maintain a high tempo. Encourage
the players to attempt "Diving Headers" at goal when the
opportunity presents itself.
Throw, Head, Catch
This practice will improve attacking and defensive
"heading" techniques. This can also be used as a fun
warm up activity with your team. Divide the team into two
groups. Identify groups by using colored bibs. The object
of the game is for a team to score with a “header”. The
team in possession can only advance up the field in using
this sequence “Throw, Head and then Catch”. Players
cannot run with the ball. Opposing team can only
intercept a throw with a header and a header with a
catch. Focus On: Good support movement off the ball.
Quality heading techniques. Heading to pass, heading to
score.
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Heading Drills and Games
Crash the Goal
Place 2 goals approximately 15 yards apart. Two teams
are inside the square. Identify each team using colored
bibs. The object is to score a goal with a header or volley.
The drill starts with one player serving the ball to his team
from the side cone. The ball must be thrown in with pace.
His team must crash the goal and try to score with a
header or volley. After the attack the ball is turned over
the opposite team to serve. Team can serve from any
side. This is a fun activity using a lot of players.
If Goalkeeper catches to ball he can throw is at the
opposite goal to try and score.
World Cup Heading Game
Players are divided equally into two groups. One group is
positioned behind the goal to recover missed headers.
The second group are split equally and positioned at two
cones placed at the edge of the penalty area. Two
servers, positioned each side of the goal, serve the ball in
the air and between the two cones placed approximately
12 yards from the goal line. Each server alternates
serving. Players recovering the balls must always ensure
there is a ready supply of ball for the servers. Players
heading must receive a throw from the server diagonally
opposite. The ball must be struck after it passes through
the cones. Any ball struck before passing through the
cones does not count. The group works as a team to see
how many goals they can score in a three-minute period.
After the three-minute period, all goals are totaled and
groups alternate.
Heading for Accuracy
Two players are positioned in a grid 10 yards x 10 yards.
One player holds the ball firmly between their hands.
The players alternate heading the ball from their hands,
while attempting to hit the cone. A goal is awarded
each time a player hits the cone.
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Heading Drills and Games
Heading Reaction Game
A group of players are positioned in a circle around the
coach, using one ball. The coach serves a straight throw
to the players in random order. As the coach serves the
ball he shouts one of two commands "HEAD" or
"CATCH". If the coach shouts, "HEAD" - the player must
do the opposite and catch the ball. If the coach shouts,
"CATCH" - the player must do the opposite and head the
ball. The player receives a goal for every successfully
performed header or catch. If the player heads the ball it
must be headed back to the coaches hands, if they catch
the ball he must then throw it back to the coach. A
competition can also be played. When the player makes
a mistake they are eliminated and sit on the ground. The
last player standing wins.
The Heading Race
A group of players with a ball each are placed at opposite
goals. Two goalkeepers are positioned in goal. Identify
groups using colored bibs. A cone is placed in the middle
of the goals. On the coach’s command, the first player
from each group runs around the cone and has to score
as quickly as possible with a header. The second player
in their group serves the ball. Headers should be outside
the 6 yard box. The first player to score wins a point for
their team. After heading the ball, players join the end of
their group. The practice is then repeated by the next
players in line. Coach should keep track of goals scored
and make a competition amongst the teams.
Heading in Midfield
Two groups of four players are positioned in the middle
third of the field. Mark the middle third with cones. One
group acts as defenders, the second as attackers. Two
servers are placed in the six-yard box. The servers
alternate playing long lofted passes into the middle third
of the field.
The object of the practice is for both groups to challenge
and win the header. The defensive team must head the
ball back towards the servers and past the cones to win a
point. The offensive team must try to “flick” the ball over
the defenders and past the end cones to win a point.
Change roles of groups so each group practices
defensive and offensive heading.
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Warm Up Drills and Games
79
Warm Up Sessions
Dynamic Stretch Routine.
The warm up begins with a dynamic stretch routine.
All of the exercises are done whilst moving across the
grid and back again, the coach or the captain sets the
tempo, and rhythm at all times. After this phase is done,
the players work individually for 2 minutes on static
stretching, addressing their own personal needs.
1. Warm Up Jog, 2. Heel Touches, 3. Knee Touches,
4. Knee and Heel, Touches, 5. Arms back, front and clap,
6. Thighs, Chest, Head, 7. Side Step Forward, 8. High
Kicks, 9. Trunk Twists, 10. Carioca, 11. Side Jacks,
12. Inside Feet, 13. Side Swings, 14. Thigh, Thigh, Heel,
Heel,15. Back Steps, 16. Sky Stretch.
Ball Work & Quick Reaction
The entire group now works in a much tighter area. All of
the exercises are done whilst moving across the grid and
back again, the coach or the captain sets the tempo, and
rhythm at all times. The tempo begins slowly but is
rapidly accelerated to match pace as soon as possible.
Players should be talking and encouraging each other to
prepare their minds for the game as well and their bodies.
1. Pass and Follow, 2. Pass "One Touch" Follow,
3. Pass "Two Touch" Follow, 4. "Give and Go "1
Touch", 5. Double "Give and Go", 6. Dribble and Take
Over, 7. Dribble with Pace, 8. 2 Yard Rapid Passing.
Warm Up Circuit
The Circuit involves, jogging, backwards running,
sprinting and dynamic stretching. The entire circuit should
take no longer than 15 minutes.





Players start with High Steps in between each
cone, jogs backwards to opposite cones.
Players start with Double Steps in between each
cone, jogs backwards to opposite cones.
Players start with Zig Zags in between each
cone, jogs backwards to opposite cones.
Players start with In and Outs in between each
cone, jogs backwards to opposite cones
Players start with Knee Pops in between each
cone, jogs backwards to opposite cones.
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Warm Up Sessions
Double Dribble Warm Up
2 players run to first cones, collect a ball each, dribble
ball to opposite cone, repeat at the next cone as they
work their way down the series of cones. Players sprint
back outside of cones. Variations:
 Dribble directly to your partner, perform a
scissors move,
 Dribble directly to your partner, perform a "spin
out" move or "Maradona spin" move,
 Perform a half turn,
 Dribble ball around cone in a tight circle,
Double Up Warm Up
Players are divided into pairs. Pairs in turn, perform the
following exercises;
2 players run to first cones, collect a ball each, Play 3
"One Touch Passes, repeat at the next cone as they
work their way down the series of cones. Players sprint
back outside of cones. Variations: Play 3 "Two Touch
Passes, move in close, Play 4 five yard quick passes,
Add your own variations in this exercise such as, volleys,
chest volleys, headers etc.
Follow Ball Drill
Players pass the ball "clockwise" from cone to cone.
After they pass the ball to the next player they must
quickly run to the next cone. Effectively working their way
around all the cones. Limit to "2 touches". On the coach's
command, players reverse direction without interrupting
the tempo of the drill.
Emphasize fast paced passes!
Use inside and outside of the foot.
Work for 10 minutes.
Progression – Play "1 touch". Other variation is have
players dribble the ball to the cone.
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Warm Up Sessions
The Brazilian Warm Up
Entire group works in pairs across the width of the field.
The coach (or in some cases the captain of the team) is
at the front of the group and sets the rhythm and tempo
of the exercise. The coach starts off at a slow jog pace,
and then undertakes the following sequence.
Start with slow jog around the perimeter of half the field.
1. Warm Up Jog, 2. Heel Touches, 3. Knee Touches,
4. Knee and Heel Touches, 5. Chest arms back, front and
clap, 6. Thighs, Chest, Head, 7. Side step forward, 8.
High Kicks, 9. Trunk Twists, 10. Carioca, 11. Side Jacks,
12. Inside Feet, 13. Side Swings, 14. Thigh, Thigh, Heel,
Heel, 15. Back Steps, 16. Sky Stretch.
Odds and Evens
Divide the group into pairs. Each pair positioned face to
face on the starting line. Using ones mark a line 5 yards
each side. The coach designates a name for each
side; e.g. Right - Left, Odd - Even, Red - Green, King Queen, Apples Pears. When the coach calls one of the
names, the players race their partner to the side, in line
with the cone and back to the starting position. First
player back wins. Coach can vary the practice by having
players run the opposite side he calls. Also perform with
a ball. Make a competition between partners; award a
point for each time the player wins the race.
First player to 10 wins.
Million Touches
Divide group into 2 teams. One team has a ball and jogs
around the grid with the ball in their hands. The working
players must move quickly around the grid receiving the
ball from the servers. Severs throw ball for the player to
control using the head, chest, thighs and feet. Alternate
roles every 60 seconds.
Make a competition by seeing who can get the most
touches in 60 seconds. Players may not receive the ball
consecutively from the same player. Only award a point if
the player controls the ball and plays it back without the
ball hitting the ground. Develop to passing “one touch”.
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Warm Up Sessions
Sprint and Sit
This is a fun warm up exercise that emphasizes a change
of direction and acceleration. Group sits on ground,
spread out in an area approximately 30 yards x 30 yards.
Two players start off the practice. One player the "runner,
the second the "chaser". The "runner" avoids being
tagged by the "chaser" by moving in and around the
sitting players. If the runner is tagged he becomes the
chaser.
The runner can be relieved by sitting next to a resting
player, thus making the player he sits next to the new
"runner".
Sixty Seconds
Divide team into 2 groups. One group stretches for 60
seconds while the other group maneuvers around the
penalty with the ball. Swap roles every 60 seconds.
Stretches: Calf’s, Quadriceps, Groin, and Back.
Ball Maneuvers: Dribble into space, Push ball through
stretching player’s legs, Flick ball over stretching
player, Variety of turns, Volley in the air and control, Try
to tag another player who has a ball.
Do This Do That
The coach should stand in a position so the entire group
can see him clearly. The Rule: If the coach says "Do
this" the group does not react. If the coach says "Do
that" then the players must instantly mimic the coaches
movement. The coach should be creative and perform a
variety of different moves such as;
Both arms out to the side, Both arms out to the front,
Kneel on one leg, both legs, Sit down, Stand up, Move a
finger, elbow, etc. Make up your own moves. Any player
who moves when they shouldn't can either; Sprint around
a cone, do an exercise or sit out until there is a champion
of the game.
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Warm Up Sessions
Man City Reaction and Speed Drill
This fun drill is designed to develop each player’s speed
of though and awareness.
Coaching Pointers:
The “Runner” is the defender and starts on the middle
cone. The outside players attempt to score a point by
running to a corner cone. Players should communicate
and look to swap positions quickly. The “Runner” has to
try and sprint to an open cone before the outside player
gets there. If he can, a different player becomes the
“runner”. You can progress this drill by introducing a ball
to each of the outside players.
Make Them Work
Divide players into two groups. First group juggles the
ball in the air "one touch", using the head, chest, thighs
and feet. They may not pass the ball to the player they
received the ball from. Second group must perform a
designated exercise until the first group drops the ball.
Reverse roles after ball is dropped.
Players exercising can perform: Sit-ups. Push-ups.
Star jumps. Sprints. Purpose of the juggling group is to
make the exercising group work for as longer period as
they can.
Swedish Warm Up Agility Drill
This exercise is designed to work on each players’ agility
and passing skills.
There are three players inside the square. Two act as
receivers and one as a server. Players are arraigned as
in the diagram above. The server passes the ball to the
first player who must play the ball back “first time” to the
server. After playing the ball back to the server the two
receivers switch positions as quickly as possible. Both
players must be constantly on their toes and quick to
move. Rotate the role of the server frequently. .
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Warm Up Sessions
Swedish Warm Up Agility Drill
This exercise is designed to work on each players’ agility
and passing skills.
There are three players inside the square. Two act as
receivers and one as a server. Players are arraigned as
in the diagram above. The server passes the ball to the
first player who must play the ball back “first time” to the
server. After playing the ball back to the server the two
receivers switch positions as quickly as possible. Both
players must be constantly on their toes and quick to
move. Rotate the role of the server frequently.
Up and Down Game
Divide the entire group into pairs. There should be at
least 5 yards between each player. Use two balls.
Player “A” and player “B” both have a ball. As player “A”
serves the ball to player “B” to head back, player “B” must
throw his ball above his head, head the ball back to “A”
and then catch his own ball. Perform 8 each and change
roles.
Call the Number
Players are paired up with a partner, facing each other at
a distance of 2-3 yards. Players serve a ball to their
partner in the air, using the Head, Chest, Thighs or Feet.
On playing the ball, the server must instantly call out loud
number; 1, 2, or 3. The receiving player must keep the
ball in the air, the designated amount of times. e.g.:
player shouts "one", ball is returned on the "first touch".
Player shouts "two", ball is juggled once, played back on
'second touch". On returning the ball, the player then
calls out a number for his partner.
Point System:



If the player allows the ball to drop - 1 point to
partner.
If the player does not control the ball the exact
number of times - 1 point to partner.
Bad service - 1 point to partner.
Player forgets to call a number - 1 point to partner.
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Warm Up Sessions
Snatch
This is a fun game to incorporate into your warm up
activity. It develops player’s reaction time.
Divided your group of players into pairs. Each pair faces
each other. The coach call out a series of commands,
which the players must perform, but when the coach
shouts out "SNATCH" the first player to grab the ball
wins. Coach tells the players to touch their; head, ears,
shoulder, knees, toes etc. First player to 5 wins.
Slap Knees Game
This is a fun game that players enjoy. Develops fast
footwork, agility and simulates a defensive position (down
low, knees bent)
Divided your group of players into pairs. Each pair faces
each other. The object of the game is for each player to
try and slap his partner on the knee. Players are down
low in the ben knee position (just like a defending
stance). Players move around trying to avoid getting
slapped. A point is award for each successful attempt.
First player to 5 points wins. Rotate players to challenge
new opponents. Be careful no to bang heads.
Head Catch in Pairs
Divide your group into pairs. Each pair has one ball.
One player serves a straight throw to their partner. As the
player serves the ball he shouts one of two commands
"HEAD" or "CATCH".


If the server shouts, "HEAD" - the player must do
the opposite and catch the ball.
If the server shouts, "CATCH" - the player must
do the opposite and head the ball.
The player receives a goal for every successfully
performed header or catch. If the player heads the ball it
must be headed back to their partners hands, then
returned by their partner for them to serve. If they catch
the ball they must then serve it back to their partner for
them to either head or catch. A competition can also be
played. First player to 5 goals wins
86
Warm Up Sessions
Trunk Twists
Both players work together "in synch" as they time their
trunk twists. One player has the ball and turns the upper
half of the body (trunk) around to meet their partner. Their
partner must turn from the opposite side to receive the
ball. After receiving the ball, the partner turns to the
opposite side to return the ball. This is continued for 60
seconds. The coach can adjust the speed going from
slow to quick, quick to slow. Make a game. How many
can you do in 30 seconds?
Up and Under
Both players stand "back to back". Both players work
together "in synch" as they time the exercise. One player
has the ball and raises the ball above their head for their
partner to take. Their partner brings the ball down and
hands the ball back through both the players open legs.
This is continued for 60 seconds. The coach can adjust
the speed going from slow to quick, quick to slow. Also
the coach can shout "change" for the players to change
the exercise in the opposite direction. Make a game.
How many can you do in 30 seconds?
Push Me Over
This is a fun game to incorporate into your warm up
activity. It also develops balance, strength and timing.
Divided your group of players into pairs. Each pair faces
each other with hands in front and legs closed. Players
stand approximately 1 foot apart. The object of the game
is to try and make your partner move their feet by
unbalancing them. Contact can only be made by pushing
the partners hands. Points are awarded each time a
player moves their partners.
If a player touches another player’s chest, their partner
receives a point. A player can quickly move their hands
away and make a player touch their chest.
First player to 5 points wins. Rotate players to challenge
new opponents. Players should keep their legs closed
and ankles touching.
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Warm Up Sessions
Crescent Kicks
Divided your group of players into pairs. Each pair faces
each other in the push up position. The object of the
game is for each player to try to knock their partner to the
ground by pulling their arms. A point is award for each
successful attempt.
First player to 5 points wins. Rotate players to challenge
new opponents. Players should keep their legs closed
and ankles touching.
Toe Touches
Divide your group into pairs. One ball per pair.
One player holds the ball with arms forward.
While jogging in place, the working player alternates
touching the ball with the foot with right and left foot. The
player can vary the foot surface such as touching the ball
with the laces, inside of the foot, outside of the foot. The
partner can gradually increase the height of the ball as
the exercise progresses. Work for 60 seconds then
reverse roles.
Thigh Touches
Divide your group into pairs. One ball per pair.
One player holds the ball with arms forward.
While jogging in place, the working player alternates thigh
touches on the ball, with right and left thigh. The partner
can gradually increase the height of the ball as the
exercise progresses.
Work for 60 seconds then reverse roles.
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Warm Up Sessions
Figure Eights
Each player has a ball. The player rolls the ball in
between and around both legs making a "figure
8". Reverse the direction after each rotation. This
exercise will help stretch the groin and hamstrings. Work
for 60 seconds then move onto next warm up activity.
Never take your hands off the ball. Develop a rhythm to
your movement. Start slowly then increase pace.
One Bounce through Legs
Each player has a ball. With legs open wide, the player
drops the ball from behind and towards their legs. The
ball has to bounce once through the legs for the player to
bend over and catch. Work for 60 seconds then move
onto next warm up activity.
Start slowly then increase pace.
Roll Ball around Feet
This is a good exercise to incorporate into your warm up
to develop flexibility. Each player has a ball. The player
sits on the ground and rolls the ball around the legs and
back. The players fingertips must always be in contact
with the ball. Reverse directions after each rotation.
This exercise will help stretch the hamstrings. Work for
60 seconds then move onto next warm up activity.
2 Player Sit Ups
One ball per pair. Both players sit facing each other on
the ground. The players alternate handing the ball to
each other. Each time the ball is handed, the player with
the ball must extend backwards and touch the ball on the
ground. (lying full stretch). The player then sits back up
with the ball and hands the ball to their partner to
perform. Work for 2 minutes then move onto next warm
up activity. The coach should emphasize the
following points: Never throw the ball to your partner,
always hand it over. Develop a rhythm to your movement.
Start slowly then increase pace.
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Warm Up Sessions
2 Player Leg Stretch
This is a good exercise to incorporate into your warm up
for stretching the hamstrings and groin.
Both players stand facing each other. Players raise their
leg for their partner to hold. Hold until muscle is stretched
then move onto next warm up activity.
2 Player Leg Stretch Sideways
This is a good exercise to incorporate into your warm up
for stretching the hamstrings and groin.
Both players stand facing each other. Players raise their
leg for their partner to hold. Reach down to touch toes.
Hold until muscle is stretched then move onto next warm
up activity.
30 Second Shielding
Divide your group into pairs. One ball per pair.
One player starts with possession of the ball in the center
of a grid approximately 5 yards by 5 yards.
On the coach’s command, the defender has 30 seconds
to see if they can win the ball from their partner. The
player with the ball must protect the ball within the
boundaries of the grid. If the player with the ball losses it,
they then become the defender. The player who has the
ball at the end of 30 seconds wins a point. Make a
competition, first player to 5 points wins. Rotate players
to challenge new opponents.
90
Speed, Agility & Endurance Drills
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Speed, Agility & Endurance Drills
Man City Reaction and Speed
This fun drill is designed to develop each player’s speed
of though and awareness. The “Runner” is the defender
and starts on the middle cone. The outside players
attempt to score a point by running to a corner cone.
Players should communicate and look to swap positions
quickly. The “Runner” has to try and sprint to an open
cone before the outside player gets there. If he can, a
different player becomes the “runner”. You can progress
this drill by introducing a ball to each of the outside
players.
Barcelona Turning to Run Drill
This drill will enhance each player’s speed, agility and
awareness.
Divide your team into 2 equal groups. Team up players
by speed. Place colored cones as in the diagram above.
On the coaches “command” players go flat out and race
to the “orange cones” at the opposite end of the grid. As
the players race to the “orange cones” the coach can call
out “turn”. If he does then the players must turn quickly
and run back to the starting line. If the coach calls out
“Yellow” or “Blue” the players must turn and sprint to that
cone, then race back to the starting line.
Newcastle United Fitness Sprints
This exercise is excellent for maintaining a high tempo
during short distance sprint work.
The team is divided into two groups. Position a group at
opposite flag poles. Players stand 5 yards from the flag
pole. Sprint work is performed in the following sequence;
Player "A" sprints around the far flag pole, as soon as he
turns the flag pole, player "B" chases player "A" and tries
to "tag" him before he gets back to his own flag pole.
When player "B" turn on the flag, player "C" chases him
and tries to tag him before he reaches his own flagpole.
This sequence is repeated throughout the drill.
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Fake Runs
This exercise is a designed to incorporate body feints
with high tempo sprint work. Players thoroughly enjoy this
drill. Teams alternate faking. On the Coach's command,
two players jog to the center cones. One player is the
"faking" player.
His job is to trick the opponent that he is going one way,
but explodes in the opposite direction. Players race to the
cone in either corner.
Variations; Run to opposite cone. Run straight or side to
side cone. Run in groups of two, three or four etc.
Chasing Shadows
The group is divided into pairs. The players make a circle
approximately 20 yards in diameter as shown above.
Two players start the exercise. Player "A" tries to tag
player "B", player "B" can run anywhere to avoid being
tagged, inside or outside of the circle. If player "B" is
tagged they must now chase player "A". As the player
runs around trying to avoid being tagged, they can rest by
standing next to any of the pairs or players. The player
they stand next too now become the "chased" player.
Allow time for all players to get a good work out.
Coach should develop a high tempo rhythm as quickly as
possible.
Scotland Runs
First player at the start line, player "1" runs to player "2"
and plays a "give and go" with player 2. He then runs
around the cone and plays a "give and go" with player 3.
He repeats this with all the players until he reaches
player 9. He then takes the player 9 position. After each
player passes the ball to player "1" they must receive the
return pass and kill the ball dead at the cone. They leave
the ball and sprint to the next cone ahead of them, back
to their cone and again back to the cone ahead of them
where they stay. After each pass they are moving up a
cone closer to the starting line. The concept is for the
players to move up the cones by doing 3 sprints each
time they pass the ball to the runner. When they reach
the last cone they then become the running player.
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Speed, Agility & Endurance Drills
Shankley Runs
Position 2 players per flag pole, plus 4 more at one flag
pole. The flag pole with 6 will be the starting position.
To start, 4 players from the starting position sprint to the
next flag pole. When they reach the next flag pole 2 of
the players stay there.
The other 2 run to the next flag pole and rest. As soon as
the first group hit the first flag pole, 2 players join them
and sprint the length of 2 flags. The whole concept is for
each pair to sprint 2 flags and rest. On each sprint they
will be paced by 2 players. Each circle completed equals
160 yards. Record total distance sprinted.
Half Feld Runs
Spend at least 15 minutes on a good stretch and warm
up before commencing the running program. Divide
players into four groups and position a group at each
corner of a half field. Assign a leader or "pacesetter" for
each group. On the coaches command the players will
run in the following sequence:
1. Sprint 1 side, Jog 1 side.
2. Sprint 2 sides, Jog 2 sides.
3. Sprint 3 sides, Jog 1 side.
4. Sprint 4 sides, Jog 1 side.
5. Rest - continue walking around field.
Total average distance covered will be 1040 yards.
.
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Speed, Agility & Endurance Drills
Transition Fitness (High Aerobic)
Exercise Objectives:
This drill is designed to; Develop the Intermittent Aerobic Capacity of players. Develop a team’s ability to
work at Moderate to High intensity for sustained periods. Develop a team’s ability to maintain possession.
Coaching Pointers:
Position your players as in the diagram above.

The team in possession is required to have one player in the opposite zone to where the other players
are located. In this example (#1). They cannot have more than one player in the opposite zone to
where the ball is.

The team in possession attempts to maintain possession and then switch the ball to the sole player in
the opposite zone(#1). One completion of this pass successfully from one zone to the Other gets the
team gets 1 point and all the players except one from the team in possession shift to the zone where
the ball was played to.

If possession changes prior to the switch pass the team in possession should switch the player in the
opposite zone with one of their own.

Passes across the central zone should be on the ground.
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Speed, Agility & Endurance Drills
KEY COACHING POINTS:
1. Players need to to be aware of the game conditions and rules.
2. Principles of possession should be applied by teams (i.e. good width and depth, quick
passing, good supporting angles, etc).
3. Players should be working between 70-90% of their maximum heart rate (MaxHR).
4. Possession players need to step up the field and support early.
5. Defending players need to recover quick and attempt to track runners and mark.
6. Direct balls forward to the target man should be quality. Patience for a good switch
passing opportunity is important.
Diagram 2 - Movement of Players Following a Successful Switch Pass
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Speed, Agility & Endurance Drills
PROGRESSIONS
1. (Refer to Diagram 3) Each team plays only one direction now. R1 remains in Zone C
the entire time as a target player for the switch pass, as does Y1. Yellow team plays
from right to left and the Red team from left to right.
2. Require 4 passes before a team is allowed to play a switch pass.
Diagram 3 - (Progression 1)
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Speed, Agility & Endurance Drills
VARIATIONS:
1. Maximum of 2 touch. Except when intercepting or challenging when 3 are allowed.
2. Increasing the dimensions of the field will also increase the intensity of the exercise. in
particular the central zone (making this longer, i.e.20-30 yrds) increases the distance of the
runs players have to make on each switch.
3. Team scores a point with 8 consecutive passes, regardless of switch passes which are
considered a normal pass now.
4. Team scores a point after two switches. Not just one.
5. Passes across the central zone can be played in the air.
6. Play with fewer players to increase the intensity of the exercise (i.e. 4vs4).
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
The exercise simulates intermittent exercise seen in a real match (i.e. periods of possession with
either recovery runs or supporting runs of approx. 20-30 yrds. Intensity is highly configurable with
the number of players and size of the playing area (zones). it is important to create well balanced
teams, as defending and making recovery runs is generally of a higher intensity than attacking runs.
Encourage the group of players to take their pulses and calculate their heart rate during the
breaks and immediately after the exercise to check how hard they have been working.
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Speed, Agility & Endurance Drills
Cycle Sessions
The cycle sessions included in the program are designed
for performance of maximal power through each interval.
Make sure that the saddle is set to the appropriate height,
so that when sat down with the pedal at its lower point,
the leg should be extended with a slight knee flexion.
Cycle 1: 10mins easy cycle. 12x10secs maximal effort
burst, staying seated in the saddle. 1min easy spin in
between each effort, concluding with 10mins easy cycle.
Cycle 2: 10mins easy cycle. 14x10secs maximal effort
burst, staying seated in the saddle. 1min easy spin in
between each effort, concluding with 10mins easy cycle.
Cycle 3: 10mins easy cycle. 16x10secs maximal effort burst, staying seated in the saddle. 1min easy
spin in between each effort, concluding with 10mins easy cycle.
Cycle 4: 10mins easy cycle. 18x10secs maximal effort burst, staying seated in the saddle. 1min easy
spin in between each effort, concluding with 10mins easy cycle.
Cycle 5: 10mins easy cycle. 19x10secs maximal effort burst, staying seated in the saddle. 1min easy
spin in between each effort, concluding with 10mins easy cycle.
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Speed, Agility & Endurance Drills
Liverpool Speed and Agility
What do I get the players to do?
Warm-up We set up as shown (1), with four 15x5- yard channels. At the bottom of each are three small
hurdles. At mid-tempo, players have different instructions for running either around or over them, then move to
the top of the practice area and back. As one player returns, the next leaves. Speed conditioning
Next, players must sprint from the start line, run 5 yards to the cone, before coming back.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Whole Team Attacking
What do I get the players to do?
Servers stand either side of the goal with a supply of balls. They can pass to any of the attacking players.
When a ball is served the attacking players combine to score using a variety of passing and movement.
Players should be overlapping and exchanging positions, using variety in when the ball is delivered and
where a player chooses to shoot from. When the ball goes dead return to positions and a new ball is served.
What are the key things to look for technically/ tactically?
It is important that the players maintain a high tempo, keeping the ball and themselves moving. We are
looking for accuracy in all crossing and finishing. Ultimately, we want to see play resulting in a goal or shot
on target. With the absence of defenders this shouldn’t be a problem!
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Whole Team Attacking – Progression
How do I progress the session?
There are a few natural progressions:
1
2
3
4
The servers become central defenders who try to stop the players scoring.
Limit the number of touches.
Insist that every attack has to include players switching positions.
Add more opposition if additional players are available.
How would you put this into a game situation?
Move on to a full pitch. The goalkeeper starts with the ball and passes to a center half. This gives
center backs practice at playing long passes to the center forwards. Once the ball has been played
forward the players practice the same movements as before. Again, add more opposition if you have
sufficient numbers.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Attacking from Midfield
What do I get the players to do?
Create a 25x25 yard square around the center spot and play 5v5 in this area.
We look for three (or more) completed passes before the ball is moved out of the zone. Once that pass is
made, the team have eight seconds to score a goal. To support, use one forward and one defender
starting in the D on the 18 yard box. Either one or two players can break to support the forward, but if two
go (thus creating a 3v1 situation), I encourage one of the forwards to go wide, while the other stays
central. Players must remain onside at all times. If the team scores, they jog back to the center. If they
miss, they must sprint back. Such is the
flexibility of this session, it can be tweaked to involve any number of players.
Do this for 4x4 minutes, with one minute recovery in between.
What are the key things to look out for technically/ tactically?
Initially, we’re keeping an eye on possession in the central box, awareness of players, and quality of
passing. In addition, check that players are going forward at the right moment. We’ll also focus on the
quality of forward runs, intelligence and patience in waiting for an opening, plus communication between
players.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Penetrating the Defense
What do I get the players to do?
Passing practice 1 (1) The first practice concentrates on penetrating diagonal passes and movement to get
in behind in a 30x30-yard area. Player 1 passes to player 2, who receives on the back foot. Player 3 pulls
on the shoulder of the mannequin to receive a lofted diagonal pass from player 2 before a pass out the
other side. All players follow their passes.
Passing practice 2 (2) This next practice examines penetrating runs and passes. So in the same area, set
up as shown, with player 1 passing to player 2, who takes a first touch inside the mannequin and plays a
slide pass for player 3 to run onto. Players follow on to the next station by rotation.
What are the key things to look out for? We want to see a good quality and weight of pass, smart
movement of players pulling on the shoulders of the mannequins, and possible disguises of pass. Player 3
must point to where he wants the ball played, and must time his run to stay onside. He can run behind or in
front of the mannequin, but should not have to break stride at any point.
How do I progress the session? We now encourage players to bring their own interplay into the session,
providing that in each run through they combine to get in behind mannequins.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Possession through the #10
What do I get the players to do?
Taking the theme into a more opposed practice, the possession-based transfer practices
challenge the spatial and visual awareness of the players beyond a traditional transfer game.
Two teams of five attackers occupy 20x10-yard areas, and when in possession are opposed
by two defenders. In a central 10x5-yard zone, two attackers are opposed by a single
defender. The attacking team completes a minimal number of passes before transferring the
ball to the other attacking team.
If they play through the no.10 (blue or white) they achieve a point. If they transfer through or
over (without using the no.10) they retain possession but receive no points. In the second
game only a defender occupies the central zone. As possession builds (whites), a blue must
recognize when, where and how to drop into the zone to receive, get half-turned and play into
his own color. If this is achieved, a point is awarded.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Switching the Play
What do I get the players to do?
What do I get the players to do? Passing drill
(1a) In the left-hand practice, there is a blue
server at each end of the box, and a blue on
each mannequin in the middle. The ball is
played in from the top, moving clockwise with a
diagonal pass towards the wing. The player
must react to the pass and step back off the
mannequin, ready to receive. Two- touch, the
ball is then played on, before the move is
repeated back in the other direction. In the
second box, we position two players on a
single mannequin. Now, the ball can go to
either player, so both need to react to the
potential of the pass. To progress, we restrict
players to one-touch (1b).
What are the key things to look out for?
Players must receive the ball on the back foot, side-on so they can see both servers. Movement off the
mannequin must be realistic, with a sensible weight of pass from the server.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Whole Team Attacking
What do I get the players to do?
Servers stand either side of the goal with a supply of balls. They can pass to any of the attacking players.
When a ball is served the attacking players combine to score using a variety of passing and movement.
Players should be overlapping and exchanging positions, using variety in when the ball is delivered and
where a player chooses to shoot from. When the ball goes dead return to positions and a new ball is served.
What are the key things to look for technically/ tactically?
It is important that the players maintain a high tempo, keeping the ball and themselves moving. We are
looking for accuracy in all crossing and finishing. Ultimately, we want to see play resulting in a goal or shot
on target. With the absence of defenders this shouldn’t be a problem!
108
Functional and Tactical Drills
Whole Team Attacking – Progression
How do I progress the session?
There are a few natural progressions:
5
6
7
8
The servers become central defenders who try to stop the players scoring.
Limit the number of touches.
Insist that every attack has to include players switching positions.
Add more opposition if additional players are available.
How would you put this into a game situation?
Move on to a full pitch. The goalkeeper starts with the ball and passes to a center half. This gives
center backs practice at playing long passes to the center forwards. Once the ball has been played
forward the players practice the same movements as before. Again, add more opposition if you have
sufficient numbers.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Attacking from Midfield
What do I get the players to do?
Create a 25x25 yard square around the center spot and play 5v5 in this area.
We look for three (or more) completed passes before the ball is moved out of the zone. Once that pass is
made, the team have eight seconds to score a goal. To support, use one forward and one defender
starting in the D on the 18 yard box. Either one or two players can break to support the forward, but if two
go (thus creating a 3v1 situation), I encourage one of the forwards to go wide, while the other stays
central. Players must remain onside at all times. If the team scores, they jog back to the center. If they
miss, they must sprint back. Such is the
flexibility of this session, it can be tweaked to involve any number of players.
Do this for 4x4 minutes, with one minute recovery in between.
What are the key things to look out for technically/ tactically?
Initially, we’re keeping an eye on possession in the central box, awareness of players, and quality of
passing. In addition, check that players are going forward at the right moment. We’ll also focus on the
quality of forward runs, intelligence and patience in waiting for an opening, plus communication between
players.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Penetrating the Defense
What do I get the players to do?
Passing practice 1 (1) The first practice concentrates on penetrating diagonal passes and movement to get
in behind in a 30x30-yard area. Player 1 passes to player 2, who receives on the back foot. Player 3 pulls
on the shoulder of the mannequin to receive a lofted diagonal pass from player 2 before a pass out the
other side. All players follow their passes.
Passing practice 2 (2) This next practice examines penetrating runs and passes. So in the same area, set
up as shown, with player 1 passing to player 2, who takes a first touch inside the mannequin and plays a
slide pass for player 3 to run onto. Players follow on to the next station by rotation.
What are the key things to look out for? We want to see a good quality and weight of pass, smart
movement of players pulling on the shoulders of the mannequins, and possible disguises of pass. Player 3
must point to where he wants the ball played, and must time his run to stay onside. He can run behind or in
front of the mannequin, but should not have to break stride at any point.
How do I progress the session? We now encourage players to bring their own interplay into the session,
providing that in each run through they combine to get in behind mannequins.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Possession through the #10
What do I get the players to do?
Taking the theme into a more opposed practice, the possession-based transfer practices
challenge the spatial and visual awareness of the players beyond a traditional transfer game.
Two teams of five attackers occupy 20x10-yard areas, and when in possession are opposed
by two defenders. In a central 10x5-yard zone, two attackers are opposed by a single
defender. The attacking team completes a minimal number of passes before transferring the
ball to the other attacking team.
If they play through the no.10 (blue or white) they achieve a point. If they transfer through or
over (without using the no.10) they retain possession but receive no points. In the second
game only a defender occupies the central zone. As possession builds (whites), a blue must
recognize when, where and how to drop into the zone to receive, get half-turned and play into
his own color. If this is achieved, a point is awarded.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Switching the Play
What do I get the players to do?
What do I get the players to do? Passing drill
(1a) In the left-hand practice, there is a blue
server at each end of the box, and a blue on
each mannequin in the middle. The ball is
played in from the top, moving clockwise with a
diagonal pass towards the wing. The player
must react to the pass and step back off the
mannequin, ready to receive. Two- touch, the
ball is then played on, before the move is
repeated back in the other direction. In the
second box, we position two players on a
single mannequin. Now, the ball can go to
either player, so both need to react to the
potential of the pass. To progress, we restrict
players to one-touch (1b).
What are the key things to look out for?
Players must receive the ball on the back foot, side-on so they can see both servers. Movement off the
mannequin must be realistic, with a sensible weight of pass from the server.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Pressing Lost Possessions (Reading Cues)
1.
4v3 plus Target Player
4 keep possession vs 3. The three defenders
must press to get the ball back. Once they do
they fund their target man in opposite grid.
4 players try to press to avoid having the ball
switched.
2.
6v6 plus 6 game
Play 6v6 plus 6. Team that loses possession
must press tin win the ball back.
3.
11v8 Conditioned Game
Play 11v8 conditioned game. Press lost
nd
possessions. Coach can add a 2 ball for the
attacking team to press.
4v3 plus Target Player
6v6 plus 6 game
11v8 Conditioned Game
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Getting Fullbacks forward in the 4-3-3
Play 2-3-3 versus 3-2
1.
Pattern of Play, finish with cross from #2 and #3
2.
Add Defenders
3.
Add Counter Goal (target player)
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Defending the Midfield third in a 4-3-3
4-3 (4-3-3) versus 4-1 and eventually 4-2 (4-4-2)
1.
Yellow attack small goals, White counter target player #9.
2.
Add second forward for yellow to make it 4-2
3.
Add large goal for yellow to attack (top of the box)
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Attacking Centrally in a 4-3-3
2-3-1 vs 2-2-1
White attack large goal, red counter to target player.
Should be an early ball to #9.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Principles of Zonal Play




Play 3v2 with target player for the defending team.
Keep play in front of you.
Add “offside” line
Force play wide so covering defender can play on outside shoulder of forward.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
5 v 4 Mini Goals




Play 5v4 using 2 mini goals.
Offside in affect (line)
Maintain shape
Indicate what commands are used to pass players on.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
6v5 to Large Goals
 Play 6v5 to large goal. Defense counters to small goals.
 Offside in effect (line).
 Pressure the ball within shooting range (no keeper).
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Pressing the Ball as a Team




Anytime our opponent has a “throw in” in their end, we squeeze everyone up.
Our forward marks the thrower and prevents a ball being played back to him.
His is also looking to “double team”.
Our wide midfielder pushes up tight and our fullbacks pushes up into midfield.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Pressing the Ball as a Team (2)
 When our opponents are in possession of the ball, and we have pressure
on the ball, that is the cue for everyone to step up. If they break pressure
(getting ball to the weak side fullback), our wide midfielder must stop the ball,
and give time for everyone to recover.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Pressing the Ball as a Team (3)
 Fullback cuts off the pass to the central defenders.
 The wide midfielder pushes up to press the fullback, cutting off the pass down
the line.
 .The fullback pushes up to their midfielder.
 The other defenders slide over to provide cover.
 The center midfielders slide up and in, to pressure any pass into the center
midfield.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Patterns in a 4-51 (4-3-3)
 This combination, like most of the others, can come down either the right
or left side.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Patterns in a 4-51 (4-3-3) (Part 2)
 The key to this pattern is a very clever, first time ball, from the defensive
center midfielder into the forwards feet. The attacking center midfielder
switches the attack for a cross and finish at goal.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Patterns in a 4-51 (4-3-3) (Part 3)
 The fullback passes the ball into the forwards feet. The attacking
center midfielder switches the attack to the right midfielder. He dribbles at the
defender as the fullback overlaps, for a cross and finish at goal.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Patterns in a 4-51 (4-3-3) (Part 4)
 Getting the attacking center midfield to make a forward run in behind the
defense. The run can also come from one of the deeper center midfielders.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
High Pressure Defending in the 4-4-2
High Pressure defending tactics are used to win the ball back as close to the opponent’s
goal as possible. Every player must be committed to defending and have a high work rate.
Players must work hard to reduce the space and time their opponents have on the ball and
make play as predictable as possible. This example is based on when the opposing goalkeeper
receives possession of the ball.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
High Pressure Defending in the 4-4-2
Role of the First Striker
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Must drop off to encourage the goalkeeper to play the ball to the fullback.
Runs must be timed to start as soon as the ball leaves the goalkeepers glove.
The run must be fast, aggressive and arced to discourage any back pass to the
goalkeeper.
Be alert for any bad control by the fullback.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
High Pressure Defending in the 4-4-2
Role of the Second Striker
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Must split the stopper and the sweeper back until one makes a move for a pass.
If a player is looking for the ball inside, mark tight to discourage the pass.
Must chase any ball that is played square into the center.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
High Pressure Defending in the 4-4-2
Role of the Near Side Midfielder
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Must be alert the moment the goalkeeper has the ball. Don't close down too early;
this will discourage the goalkeeper from distributing the ball to the fullback.
Make an "arced" run to discourage the fullback from playing down the sideline.
Must force the fullback into a pressure situation and do not dive into tackles.
Try to force fullback to play square passes inside.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
High Pressure Defending in the 4-4-2
Role of the Central Midfielders
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Must push onto central mid-field players and get "touch" tight.
Keep opponents mid-field facing their goal.
Must follow and track down runners.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
High Pressure Defending in the 4-4-2
Role of the Far sided Midfielder
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Must push onto central mid-field player and get "touch" tight.
Must organize and add compactness.
Keep opponents mid-field facing their goal.
Must follow and track down runners.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
High Pressure Defending in the 4-4-2
Role of the Near Side Fullback
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Must mark left sided mid-fielder on the inside, shoulder to shoulder, (not from behind).
He is responsible for any pass played over the top or dropped in front of the mid-fielder.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
High Pressure Defending in the 4-4-2
Role of the Central Defender

Must push onto forward and be prepared to compete for high lofted passes.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
High Pressure Defending in the 4-4-2
Role of the Sweeper or second Central Defender
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Must push onto central mid-field player and get "touch" tight.
Must organize and add compactness.
Keep opponents mid-field facing their goal.
Must follow and track down runners.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Central Defender Runs Forward to Split Strikers
Coaching points:
If the ball has been played to one of the Central
Defenders, the Central Defender should
look for the opportunity to move in advance of the
two forwards by running with the ball.
The main objective is to penetrate forward and
create a 5 v 4 numbers up situation in the midfield
third.
It is of vital importance that once the Central
Defender has pushed forward into midfield that the
two fullbacks move into a more central position in
defense for a more compact defensive shape.
Central Defender Receives a Through Ball and Moves Forward
Coaching points:
If the ball has been played to one of the Central
Defenders, the second Central Defender should
look for the opportunity to move in advance of the
two forwards and receive the pass behind the
forwards. A good indicator to gage where to
support is by watching the Central Defenders
head. If the Central Defender has their head down
or is being pressurized closely by the forward you
should hold in a deep supporting position behind
the ball. If the Central Defender has
their head up scanning the field, then you should
look for a forward run and support in advance
of the ball. The main objective is to penetrate
forward and create a 5 v 4 numbers up situation in
the midfield third. It is of vital importance that once
the Central Defender has pushed forward into
midfield that the two fullbacks move into a more
central position in defense for a more compact
defensive shape.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Central Defender - Diagonal Pass behind the Back Four
Coaching points:
The “diagonal ball” is the “MONEY BALL” ball.
With one pass you can beat their entire midfield
and their back four. Your opponents want you to
play in front of them, this pass forces them to turn
and face their own goal.
On your approach to make the pass, the far side
forward and wide midfielder look to make
“blind-sided” runs in behind their markers and
attack the space behind them. You must play an
in-swinging pass to the space behind the back
four. The curling ball inward will prevent the ball
running away from the attacking players.
Remember to press up the field and reassess
your defensive shape immediately after playing
the pass.
Wide Defender - Pass down the Channel to the Forward
Coaching points:
The “channel” ball can be one of the most
effective passes because with one pass you can
beat their entire midfield and turn the two nearest
defenders. Your opponents want you to play in
front of them, this pass forces them to turn and
face their own goal.
On your approach to make the pass, the near side
forward moves across the field and then attacks
the space between the central defender and the
outside fullback. You must play an in-swinging
passing down the flank to meet the forwards run.
The curling ball inward will help allow the forward
to make his run towards the goal and not towards
the corner flag. Put plenty on “spin” on the ball.
Remember to press with the ball and support
behind the wide player in the channel.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Wide Defender - Diagonal Pass behind the back four
Coaching points:
The “diagonal ball” is the “MONEY BALL” ball. With
one pass you can beat their entire midfield and
their back four. Your opponents want you to play in
front of them, this pass forces them to turn and face
their own goal.
On your approach to make the pass, the far side
forward and wide midfielder look to make
“blind-sided” runs in behind their markers and
attack the space behind them.
You must play an in-swinging pass to the space
behind the back four. The curling ball inward
will prevent the ball running away from the
attacking players. Remember to press across the
field and reassess your defensive shape
immediately after playing the pass.
Wide Defender - Support the Wide Player in Corner for a Cross
Coaching points:
If the wide midfielder is in the attacking corner, it
is important to support in a deep, wide angle
behind the ball. If the wide player is under
pressure you are the “Release Valve”.
You must ALWAYS be there for him!
If the wide man is under pressure he will pass the
ball back to you. Whenever possible cross the ball
“first time” using an out-swinging ball away from
the goalkeeper.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Central Midfielder - Pass between the Stopper and Fullback for
Forward
Coaching points:
The central midfielder should always be looking to
get the ball behind the back four. If the back four
is “flat” and the striker can play off the “shoulder”
of the central defender, then the through ball is
always a good possibility.
The ball and the run has to be timed well,
preferably in this sequence; Space, Ball, then the
last thing is the explosive run. The striker cannot
be too eager as to be caught offside.
Make the back four turn, especially if you have a
striker with speed!
Central Midfielder - Pass between the Stopper and Fullback for
Wide Player
Coaching points:
The central midfielder should always be looking to
get the ball behind the back four.
If the fullback is pushed on “tight” with the wide
midfielder, then the center midfielder should be
looking to exploit the space behind them with a
pass. This type of pass make the defender turn
and either lose sight of the wide midfielder or the
central midfielder.
It is a top priority pass if the option is there.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Central Midfielder - Pass to the Feet of the Deepest Forward
Coaching points:
If the central midfielder cannot play the ball
behind the back four and make them turn, then he
must look to play the ball to the deepest striker.
By playing to the deepest striker he will bypass
more defenders, thus make the others turn and
face their own goal.
Penetration is the key! How many players can you
take out the game using “one pass”!
Central Midfielder - Diagonal Pass behind the Defense
Coaching points:
The “diagonal ball” is the “MONEY BALL” ball.
With one pass you can beat their entire midfield
and their back four. Your opponents want you to
play in front of them, this pass forces them to turn
and face their own goal.
On your approach to make the pass, the far side
forward and wide midfielder look to make
“blind-sided” runs in behind their markers and
attack the space behind them.
You must play an in-swinging pass to the space
behind the back four. The curling ball inward
will prevent the ball running away from the
attacking players. Remember to press across the
field and reassess your defensive shape
immediately after playing the pass
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Central Midfielder - “Set Up” Pass to Switch the Play
Coaching points:
The central midfielders should use the “Set” up
play to switch the point of attack.
The ball is played to midfielder facing you and he
returns a “softly weighted” pass to enable the
midfielder to strike to ball “first time” to switch the
play.
Communication between both partners is crucial.
There must be a mutual understanding that when
the player shouts “SET”, he is asking for the ball
“on a plate” to switch the attack.
This quick change of attack can be devastating to
any organized defense.
Central Midfielder - Pass between the two Central Midfielders
Coaching points:
Penetration is again the key word. Midfielder
players should be “forward thinking”, in their
passes but also as crucial, in their support play.
If your partner has his head up and is not
pressured in midfield, you should look to support
the ball, through the lines, and bypass the
midfielders to receive the ball beyond them.
If you support the ball alongside, when you can
penetrate with a run, you have lost the advantage
of making your opponents turn.
Remember, defenders want to keep both central
midfielders in their vision; penetrating runs like
this combat that.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Wide Midfielder – Dragging the Fullback inside to create space
outside.
Coaching points:
The wide midfielder should look to create space
down the flank by moving the ball inside first.
The wide midfielder should run at the defender
inside, thus creating space on the flank, once he
has dragged the defender far enough over, he
can burst into the space he has created, to cross
the ball.
A second option is for the attacking wide fullback
to exploit the space with an overlapping run.
Wide Midfielder – Dragging Fullback Short to Create Space for Ball Behind
Coaching points:
If the wide midfielder wants to create space
behind him, he must first drag the marking
defender away from the space.
By coming short for the ball, he creates space
behind him. He should receive a short range pass
from the supporting fullback and ”spin” and sprint
into the space he created behind him.
This is not possible if the defender has “dropped
off”. Make sure the defender is marking you tight.
Use and extended arm to feel the defender, to
make sure he is close to you.
Remember, “Go short, to get the ball long”
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Wide Midfielder – Dragging Fullback Long to Create Space for
Ball Short
Coaching points:
If the wide midfielder wants to create space in
front of him, he must first drag the marking
defender away from the supporting fullback..
By going long first, he creates space in front of
him. He should sprint away from the ball, taking
his marking player with him. Get as tight as you
can on your marker, then “push off” him as you
explode back into the space you have created to
receive the ball to feet from the supporting
fullback.
Remember, “Go long, to get the ball short”
Strikers – Attacking Runs - First Striker, Second Striker
Coaching points:
Both Forwards must push up against back four
st
when team brings the ball up the field. 1 Forward
makes run towards ball, receives the pass and
set’s up supporting player with a “one touch” pass
whenever possible. As ball is being passed back
nd
the 2 striker makes his run across defender and
looks for ball in behind the back four. Supporting
nd
player delivers a quality pass for 2 Forward
behind the back four. Does it need to be ground
nd
or aerial? Straight or in swinger (bending in)? 2
Forward must look for “cue” when ball is laid back
start run. Timing is crucial. If he makes the run too
early he runs the danger of being caught in an
offside position, attracting the attention of the
defender or killing the space before the ball is
delivered. Players must develop a forward
THINKING, forward RUNNING and forward
PASSING attitude. Remember - Space created,
ball delivered, then the run.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Strikers – Attacking Runs - Second Striker, First Striker
Coaching points:
Both Forwards push up against back four when
the team brings the ball up the field.
st
1 Striker makes run towards ball to create space
behind him. He turns and explodes quickly into to
created space behind him.
nd
Supporting player delivers a quality pass for 2
st
Striker to pass “one touch” into the path of the 1
Striker. Timing is crucial.
nd
2 Striker also attacks the box after passing the
ball. Remember - Space created, ball delivered,
then the run.
Strikers – Attacking Runs – Second Striker Attacks Front Post
Coaching points:
Both Forwards push up against back four when
the team brings the ball up the field.
st
1 Forward makes run towards ball, receives the
pass from the right back and plays a “one touch”
pass behind the fullback and into space. After
st
passing the ball the 1 Striker turns and attacks
the back post area of the box.
The wide midfielder attacks the space behind the
fullback and crosses the ball or attacks the goal.
nd
2 Striker looks to attack the front post area of
the box. Right back must support wide midfielder
and be the “release valve” if he is under pressure.
Timing is crucial. Remember - Space created, ball
delivered, then the run.
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Functional and Tactical Drills
Strikers – Attacking Runs – First Striker Attacks Wide Channel
Coaching points:
Both Forwards push up against back four when
the team brings the ball up the field.
Wide midfielder creates space and opens up a
passing channel by taking his marker inside the
field. He times his run the attack the back post.
Right back plays an “in-swinging” pass down the
st
wide channel for the 1 Striker to run onto. Ball
must be “curled” into the path of goal.
st
1 Forward makes run across the defender and
into space in the wide channel. He can either
cross the ball, shoot or lay ball back to right
back if he is under pressure. Right back must
support wide midfielder and be the “release valve”
if he is under pressure. Timing is crucial.
Remember - Space created, ball delivered, then
the run.
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