The switch: changing attacking angles


55x35 yards


Set of poles, balls

No. of players


This session is designed to encourage and develop quick and incisive football. Players should be looking to quickly switch the point of attack, utilising forward and angled passing, one-twos, plus intelligent off-the-ball movement. The ability to retain possession and switch play quickly and effectively is important for breaking down and moving opposition defences about, therefore creating space for goalscoring opportunities.

What do I get the players to do?

We play 7v7, with each team defending three goals spaced at equal points along the longer sides. The coach serves the ball to one team, whose aim is to score in any of the opposition’s three goals. In possession, the attacking team must aim to pass quickly and switch play, looking for forward and angled passes. If they cannot score, they must keep the ball (1a/1b/1c).


• The yellow team begins with possession of the ball


• Players construct quick passing moves


• The left-sided player creates space for the switch

What are the key things to look for technically/tactically?

Technically we are looking for players to move the ball quickly whilst maintaining control at all times. We’d expect the switch of play to vary in its execution – either a number of short quick passes or one long ball.

In addition, there are key tactical aspects to be achieved. If possible, we look for the attacking team to manufacture 2v1 situations on the opposite side of the play (i.e. in non-ball areas). The switch is progressive and should ultimately end with goalscoring situations created from crosses, shots or one-twos.

How do I progress the session?

We progress the session with the introduction of sweepers (2a). Each team has one sweeper who plays behind the goal line, therefore off the playing area. Neither team can score in a goal that the sweeper is protecting.


• Each team now employs a sweeper to block off any of the three goals

The introduction of sweepers forces the players to keep their heads up in order to establish where attacking play should be directed. The presence of this  player on each team should encourage the opposition players to switch the point of attack quickly before the sweeper is able to get across and defend (2b/2c).


• The yellow team must work the ball away from a protected goal


• Possession changes hands and a quick switch puts the winger in on an unguarded goal

How would you put this into a game situation?

The drill can be increased to 10 or 11-a-side to become a game situation. 

In terms of playing area, use a half pitch extended a few yards past the halfway line. There is one full-sized goal at the end of the pitch and three small goals positioned just beyond the halfway line, spaced equally along the line, as in the diagram.

The yellow team, which has a keeper in place, can score in any of the three goals. It must construct moves building from the back. The blue team attacks the one full-sized goal. Tactically, it must retain shape and position and should press from the front given they are shooting at only one target (3a).


• The blue team, attacking one goal, constructs passes

We encourage attacking play with a positive outcome every time. Teams must play one-twos, crosses, unleash shots and perform switches between playing areas (3b).


• Here, a switch is made to the left-winger in space

Depending on the coach’s requirements, the session’s focus can alter between the defensive or offensive elements of switching possession play (3c).


• In this instance, a shorter pass has been intercepted to create a goalscoring opportunity for the yellow team


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