Playing through teams in a 4-4-2 formation


Up to the space between the boxes, full width


Balls, cones, goals

No. of players

Up to 11v11

Session time

Screens 10mins each, Zone Conditioned game 30mins

This session is about wide players or strikers receiving in between the lines. The focus is on quality of passing and timing of movements, and it’s a scenario that we want to see come into play regularly when we use 4-4-2.

The zoned nature of the practice means we know where opposition players will be and can train with that in mind. It’s a dynamic way of linking up play, and builds communication and rapport between team mates, particularly the wide players and strikers.

What do I get the players to do?

Screen 1

In the first screen, 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.

• In Screen 1, wide players come in from the sides in ensuring the constant movement of the ball around the circuit

Screen 2

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.

• In Screen 2, the wide players now control and turn, then pass out the other side

Screen 3

The next screen 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.

• In Screen 3, the corner player and wide man rotate positions as the passing circuit gradually increases in complexity

Zone Conditioned game

Setting up as shown, the defending team (yellows) must stay in their zones, while blue attackers can move between areas in creating overloads.

Play as you would do a normal game, but as soon as possession is turned over, the other team assumes the role of attackers and can then move about with those privileges.

• In the Zone Conditioned game, the blue wide player comes in off the line to receive the ball, and creates an attacking 3v1 overload, with a central attacker having also run into the zone
• In this instance, the blue wide player stays high, while the striker comes to play in the pocket
• The use of the overlapping full-back provides a great attacking outlet and equalises the player numbers in the wide zone

How do I progress the game?

As a progression, the full-backs are allowed to follow wide players into the next zone.

What are the key things to look out for?

This is a passing drill so we want to see quality and speed of pass in attempting to break the lines. Receiving between and in behind players is obviously essential, as is the timing of movement coming in off the line.

When on the attack, full-backs must use their first touch to open up with the intention of either playing down the side or inside.


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