Passing Precision


Three 15x15 yard boxes laid end to end


Cones, a ball

No. of players

18 (2 x groups of 6 as attackers in end boxes, 1 x group of 6 as midfielders in middle box)

This session combines short and long passing. It’s great for helping players use the ball in small and compacted areas, teaching them when to hold possession, and when to switch play.

This is a scenario that occurs regularly in matches. We’ll draw a team into an area by retaining possession and making use of short, accurate balls in to feet. We’ll then  switch play with a longer pass, breaking out and opening up space upfield.

What do I get the players to do?

The ball is played to either of the attacking groups in the end boxes – here, it’s the white team. They must make five passes amongst themselves before threading the ball through the midfielders to the red team in the other end box. All passes must be made along the ground.

The midfield team, in yellow, line-up centrally in their box – we may mark some lines to ensure they remain in the middle section of that box, but will allow two men forward to press. The group’s aim is to intercept any through-pass to the red team.

Whether a pass is successfully made or intercepted, play restarts with the red team. The yellows this time need to prevent the red team threading a pass back to the whites, and so on.

Rotate teams so that each one takes on the role of the intercepting midfielders, ensuring as well that different players each time are sent to press the attackers.


• The whites must make five passes. The defensively-minded yellows come forward to close down angles of a through-pass to the reds.


• The whites must work space to make the through-ball possible.


• The reds must repeat the task. Can those in yellow close down the angles and intercept the ball?

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

We are looking for a good first touch, quality of pass, and the intelligence to release the ball at the right moment. Decision-making is a key part of this session.

How do I progress the session?

Progress by allowing the two pressing midfielders to move outside of their box into the attackers’ area. However, moving forward this far means they’ll need to react quickly to get back should the ball make it through to the team at the other end.

Also limit the number of touches allowed for the attacking team – a two-touch game at first, then one-touch.

Finally, reduce the size of the playing area, adding even greater need for accuracy and speed of thought.


• Pressing players in yellow can now enter the opposition’s zone.


• Quick recovery is essential should the ball work its way to the opposite end of the pitch.


• In a smaller playing area quality of passing and speed of thought become essential.

How would you put this into a game situation?

Split a full-size pitch into thirds. Teams score a point either by making a successful pass through the midfield, or by intercepting the ball.


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