50x30 yards


Balls, bibs, cones, 2 full-size goals

No. of players

20 players including 2 goalkeepers

Session time

Approximately 30mins

This session is based on the transition from regaining possession to attacking whilst the opposition are outnumbered. In other words, it’s all about the quick counter-attack.

This game is focused mainly on the attacking process so it encourages use of all of the main strengths of the attackers, including their pace and skill. It’s really all about scoring a goal as quickly as possible, and with a time-limited opportunity to score, this practice forces the attackers to move at high speed.

Usually we would run this session as and when it’s required, depending on the potential strengths and weaknesses of our upcoming opposition. 

What do I get the players to do?

Set up an area of 50×30 yards with a 10-yard ‘safe zone’ across the centre. Place a goal at each end and split your players into two teams of 10 including keepers, as shown [1a]. Each team has three defenders in one half of the pitch, two attackers in the other, and four midfielders on the side of the pitch by the safe zone.


1. Play starts with the keeper passing out from the back to one of the three defenders who should split, with one going right and one left to give the keeper options
2. The three defenders go 3v2 with the attackers and attempt to pass the ball into the safe zone where four midfielders wait for the ball
3. Once the ball is in the safe zone, two of the midfielders join the two attackers in the other half to go 4v3 against the opposition defenders
4. The moment the ball leaves the safe zone, the attackers have six seconds to score so it’s imperative to attack quickly

When the ball goes dead, play goes the other way and the safe zone players switch over, as shown [1b].


1. After play goes dead the attack goes in the other direction, starting with the keeper
2. With play going the other way, the safe zone players switch over
3. Once the ball has been released from the safe zone, movement must be quick and uncomplicated because the team has just six seconds to score
4. Look for movement that splits the defence using the full width of the area to drag defenders wide. This creates gaps in the centre for attackers to exploit

What are the key things to look out for?

Communication between the players in the safe zone with the two forwards is key to using the overload successfully. Quick forward movement from your players is essential, as is accurate shooting before time runs out and the attack ends. Ensure  your midfielders make good supporting runs to create the overload needed to stretch the defence.

What are the typical mistakes that players might make, and how do you avoid them?

With six seconds to score the aim is to get the ball forward as quickly as possible. The attack will fail if players slow the game down with over-complicated play or because they don’t pass the ball forwards – one-touch passing is vital to drag the defenders apart. Your players need to understand that fast passing and support play is key to the success of each attack, so if they try to be too inventive or if they attack in straight lines, the defenders will be able slow the attack and gain the upper hand. Straight lines are easier to defend against so players should be using diagonal passing to penetrate the defence.


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