Supporting from deep

This session is about forward runs and the ability of players to work at pace, supporting from deep or getting beyond a front striker to attack danger areas.

For teams looking to build attacking play, intelligent forward running is essential, as is the timing and execution of those breaks. Players must also work to vary passes into feet with balls into space.

It would be fair to say we see this dynamic forward play, and the way players break upfield in support, paying off in every game, since it is at the heart of supporting attacking moves. We believe it is something that cannot be over-rehearsed.



of the pitch


Balls, cones, goals

Number of Players

Full squad

What do I get the players to do?

It’s important to rehearse types of runs, unopposed. A peeled run (A) sees players running off the shoulder of a defender; a blindside run (B) looks to attack out of the vision of a marker; while runs from deep (C) are direct and through the middle.

We put these running techniques into a game session, creating an 80×50 yard playing area, with a 10-yard zone in front of the goal at each end.

The match is 10v10, including goalkeepers, with all players starting in the half that the yellow team attacks. There are two neutral floating players off the pitch who can support attacking moves from either team.

The ball is served to a yellow player. His team combines to lay off a pass to the target man, using peeled, blindside or other runs to receive the ball back and fashion a shot at goal. If they succeed, or if play is turned over, the blue team takes possession.

Blues attack the other goal, but their target player begins on the halfway line. The team does not have to use this outlet, though because yellows are prevented from moving into the other half to tackle back, blues only have three touches before shooting at goal. After the attack, play is restarted with the yellow team on the halfway line. We play this for four sets of eight minutes.


• Players rehearse supporting runs, unopposed


• In the game situation, the target man must be ready for his approaching team mates


• He lays the ball off for his support player to run on to and score

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

In technical terms, we look for confident passing with balls being played into feet, at varying heights and with good accuracy.

Players also need to hit space, ensuring a weight and angle of pass that makes running on to the ball easy. We encourage a variation of aerial and grounded assists.

In tactical terms, we rely on the awareness and intelligence of our players, as support play varies between runs in behind, blindside runs, peeled runs, plus overlaps and underlaps. All of these moves require supporting from deep with good timing, clever angles, and an appreciation of distance, both from the ball player and towards the goal.

How do I progress the session?

We progress by allowing yellow defenders to now pursue the blue breakaway moves. Should they regain possession, they attack the other goal.


• The blue team break unopposed in the other half and are allowed three touches to score


• Progressing the session allows defenders back to tackle


• The ball is set back for a shot on goal though yellow players have recovered well





Share this

Follow us