Rotational play in midfield


60x40 yards


Balls, cones, goals

No. of players


Session time

40×20-yard practice 25mins, Two-goal practice 25mins, game 20mins

This session is about rotational play in the centre of the park, specifically when using a midfield diamond. The set-up enables us to examine movement, combination play, link-ups and one- and two-touch passing.

We run this as a way of ensuring constant improvement in player movement as well as spotting the triggers that provoke attacking play. The aim is for players to be getting on and meeting the ball, driving forward and scoring goals.

What do I get the players to do?

40×20-yard practice

Our passing drill takes place in a 40×20-yard area, with four players in a midfield diamond. Two more – a server and a receiver – wait at either end of the area.

The ball is fed in at the bottom. Each player moves off his cone to have a touch and moves the ball on (1), before rotating anti-clockwise around the area. When the ball is passed out the top edge, we reverse the cycle (2).


• In the first practice, players can move off their cones to receive and pass the ball through the area


• Players rotate positions and the cycle comes back in the other direction

In the next part, we place a goal and keeper at the top. Again, each player must have a touch, but this time the player on the top cone goes through to shoot at goal (3).


• Now with a goal added, the passing move ends with a shot

Two-goal practice

For the progression, we use a 60×40-yard area split into thirds, each 20 yards deep. There is a goal at each end, and now two groups of four players, playing unopposed.

Each group starts as a diamond, with one player in the defensive third, two in the midfield third (one on each wing), and one in the attacking third. The keepers serve, with play going clockwise and teams attacking opposite goals (4a, 4b). Players again rotate, moving into different thirds when receiving passes. Again, each player must touch the ball before a shot is taken. We then restart again from the other end.


• In the 60×40-yard game, reds rotate during play so as to meet the ball in each third


• At the same time, whites play into the other goal

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

We’re looking for firm passing conducted at a high tempo, with players encouraged to move off cones to receive, before making onward passes. When a player is sent through on goal, he must deliver a confident end product.

How do I progress the session?

We add time and touch restrictions to increase the difficulty of each practice – for instance, one-touch throughout, or a 10-second maximum time for scoring a goal.

How would you put this into a game situation?

Using the 60×40-yard area, we play a 5v5 one-ball directional game, using the same principles of playing through areas with each man having a touch before a shot is taken (5).


• The session is completed with a directional 5v5 – here whites move through the areas to fashion a shooting chance