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.
Up to 60×50 yards
Balls, cones, poles, small goals
Number of Players
Up to 9v9
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
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’reused 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
This session improves and develops attacking balance when going forward.
Often we have to switch play or break out at pace, and it’s important that we retain structure and don’t become one-dimensional. To help achieve this we adopt our club philosophy of utilising the full width of the pitch when attacking. We will practise this in training in the same way that we construct it in a match situation, ensuring that players understand how and when to move the ball from one side of the pitch to the other. MORE
At any level, the ability to attack the opposition with quick, positive forward play can yield terrific rewards.
This session requires determined and aggressive forward movement and clever passing, and the key is to always be moving forwards or sideways – so never backwards, and never remaining stationery. If players follow this simple blueprint, we, as a team, have the makings of fast, invasive attacks, which are so dangerous. MORE
“…fantastic… I encourage all my coaches to read it,”