Transition to attack


Up to a full pitch


Balls, cones, goals

No. of players

Up to 9v9

Session time

Overload exercise 10mins, Game 1 20mins, Game 2 20mins

This session examines players’ ability to attack quickly and create overloads from an organised team shape.

It’s a modern trend within the game and offers our team a clear route to goal, with players taking on and mastering defined roles as part of a tight and efficient unit.

What do I get the players to do?

Overload exercise

We begin with a 4v2 overload warm-up in a narrowed penalty box extended down the pitch. Two red defenders must organise to repel the threat of the four yellow attackers. If they win the ball back the practice restarts. We progress this by telling the deep midfielder to recover after the first pass, with the main attack being a 3v2 (1).


• In the warm-up, four attacking yellows attempt to find a way past the two defenders

Attacking game 1

We set up with a goal on the 18-yard line, with the pitch coned across 10 yards into the bottom half. This small area represents a ‘safe zone’, where two unopposed defenders sit. They pass the ball out to begin the attacking move.

Should yellows turn over possession they cannot immediately counter-attack – we want them to think about switching, making a square pass or even playing the ball backwards, before then going forward, in order to keep opponents from immediately pressing the ball (2a).


• In the first attacking game, red defenders begin unopposed in the zone. When yellows turn over possession, they must play sideways or backwards

When a pass breaks the coned line, both defenders can move back to defend, though four attackers can move into the space.

To progress, yellows can now make any pass, including a quick ball forward (2b). And in the final progression, only one red can defend behind the coned line, against as many as five attackers.


• In the first progression, quick and direct forward passes can now be played, with the two red defenders allowed to recover in attempting to foil the attacking break made by four yellows

Attacking game 2

Next we play 9v9, full pitch, with zones at both ends, which act as offside lines. Attackers can have two players running beyond this line who will be unopposed if a pass can be played through. Defending players cannot drop deeper than this line, allowing space into which we can play through-balls and create 1v1 situations against the keeper (3a).


• In the second attacking game, yellow defenders cannot drop back behind the defensive line, meaning the red player goes through 1v1 with the keeper

To progress, we can allow more attackers and defenders beyond that line, such as 4v2s or 4v3s (3b).


• In the progression, greater numbers of players are allowed to drop back beyond the defensive line – here, it’s 4v2

What are the key things to look out for?

Technically, we want to see players running with the ball, playing with their heads up, a good quality of pass and movement and accomplished decision making.

Tactically, the session relies on good organisation, players being able to break the lines when regaining, and movement in the sense of how, when and where we can get to where we need to be on the pitch.


  • Ball movementBall movement
  • Player movementPlayer movement
  • DribbleDribble
  • Optional movementOptional movement