Small-sided games


Up to a half pitch


Balls, cones, goals

No. of players

Up to 18

Session time

Corner game and progressions 28mins, Long game 15mins, Half-pitch game 15mins

Small-sided games provide the best foundation for players when looking for them to rehearse the key technical and tactical elements that are taught in training.

They help us practise communication, passing, movement off the ball and tackling, and this session is comprised of three games which enable the players to progress from one concept to the next.

We’ll always finish sessions with small-sided games to retain a competitive element in training, which is so important.

What do I get the players to do?

Corner game

Set up as shown – 4v4 in the middle with two players from each team positioned in corners.

Both teams compete for possession, which must be maintained with sharp passing and constant movement. A point is awarded for passing to a corner player and receiving a return pass (1). If this goes to another man play continues, but a point isn’t awarded. Play for 3x3mins, rotating so each player goes into the corner.


• In the Corner game, a point is scored when a player completes a one-two with the corner player

How do I progress the game?

Now a corner player returns the pass to a different team mate (2) – play for another 3x3mins. Next, he swaps position with the player who made the pass (3) – play for 10mins.


• In the progression, the corner player must touch the ball out to a different player instead


• Progressing again, now the player laying a pass in to the corner player has to swap places with his team mate

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

We’re looking for quick ball movement, efficient one- and two-touch play, good communication and awareness, and an appreciation of the right angle and distance at which to support.

Long game

Setting up as shown, teams compete for possession of the ball. Each can utilise the wide floaters at any time, who are two-touch. A point is scored by successfully dribbling into an end zone. The team then turns and attacks the other end. If the ball goes out of play, restart with the coach.

How do I progress the game?

One- or two-touch target players are added to end zones. A point is awarded for passing to a target player, receiving the return pass, then dribbling into the end zone (4). Progress again whereby the target man’s ball cannot be to the player who made the incoming pass (5).


• In the Long game progression, wide floaters provide useful passing and receiving options for attackers


• In the progression with target men, a different player receives the ball back from the target player, dribbles forward and scores

Half-pitch game

Set up as shown, 8v4 inside the central area, with four target players (defenders) on outer cones. There is a keeper in each goal.

The coach feeds an attacker who, with his team mates, attempts to complete 10 passes, one- or two-touch. On the tenth pass, an attacker can burst out of the area for an effort on goal (6). If defenders win possession, they make a pass to any target player, for a point. After an unsuccessful shot or loss of possession the next ball (of six in total) is played in.


• In the Half-pitch game, on the tenth completed pass a player breaks out for a one-on-one with either keeper



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