Switching play to attack


Up to 60x50 yards


Balls, cones, poles, small goals

No. of players

Up to 9v9

Session time


This session is designed to increase player awareness in moving the ball quickly and efficiently so as to produce 1v1 situations or overloads in attack.

A big part of this is in players being able to receive the ball on the half-turn, though with that, having an awareness of situations and playing what they see in front of them. And this doesn’t just have to be an attacking principle – it could relate to anywhere on the pitch, from a keeper working with his back four or midfielders pushing forward. But this particular practice will evolve to end up with chances being created on goal.

What do I get the players to do?

Warm-up/technical drill (1)

• In the warm-up, the working player makes his way around the chicane, receives a pass, then feeds back before following and restarting

The working player weaves through and around the obstacles before making a movement away from the mannequin (imitating creating space in a game) and receiving a pass on the half-turn. He then switches play to the other end – using as few touches as possible (preferably two or less) – follows his pass, and repeats from the other side. We’ll work this for a set time, then rotate players. Distances can be altered for longer passing progression.

Main practice (2a/2b)


• In the Main Practice, the working group of six switch with tight passing and movement in using as few touches as possible


• Designated players move away from mannequins to commence a different passing sequence as the ball makes its way back across

We now set up using the full width of the pitch, with two central midfielders, two attacking wide men and two central attackers. This is a tight passing move, but could also be used as a deeper practice using central defenders, full-backs and a keeper, if desired.

We ask the players to be creative in quick one- and two-touch link play around mannequins. The coach is always checking for supporting positions, as well as good body shape when receiving and passing.

How do I progress the practice?

To progress we can add a goal and keeper to offer an end product for strikers (3). We might also bring in passive opposition for added realism.


• In the progression, keeper and goal are added to set up an end product for strikers

Small-sided game

Setting up as shown, this game is three-touch, one-touch to finish (to encourage support play), and, at first, no keepers.

The game encourages quick link play, embedding the elements practised earlier in the session, and with players on restricted touches it necessitates good support play from team mates. With a choice of two goals, switching is important for the creation of goalscoring opportunities. Players must be patient in possession, but always looking for the positive pass forward.

How do I progress the game?

We introduce keepers who must patrol and defend both of their respective goals (4). They’re  used as part of the team in possession and can’t be tackled when behind the end line or between the goals with ball at feet. Keepers restart play if the ball goes behind.


• In the progression of the Small-sided Game, and now with keepers in situ, it’s 8v8 outfield, with reds imitating the passing sequences practised earlier to set up a chance on goal that the keeper steps forward to block

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

We are looking to promote a high tempo, good awareness of space and support, quick passing (particularly where switches are concerned) and a positive end


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