The 100 passes game


Half pitch


Balls, cones

No. of players

16 (8v8)

Session time

Warm-up 10mins, game 20mins, development 20mins

This session looks at transitioning between attack and defence. It’s useful for us because it examines all the elements of pressure, possession, technique and fitness, and isolates in opponents weak areas that can be exploited.

When we have the ball, transition play is key. When we don’t have the ball, the ability to make quick and positive decisions comes to the fore, and this session looks at both of those scenarios.

What do I get the players to do?

To begin, we use a simple warm-up to promote active body and mind. In a 20×20-yard passing diamond, we put a player on each of the first three cones, and two players on the fourth cone – this is where the ball starts. Players pass the ball along each edge to a team mate who receives on the half-turn. Each player then follows his pass (1).


• For the warm-up, players work the ball around a passing diamond then follow their pass

Next we move on to an 8v8 high-energy passing game in a 20×10-yard area. Teams start in opposing halves. In the example, the coach serves the ball to the white team. Three blues move into the white half to attempt to win the ball (2a).Whites must count the number of completed passes. Once a tackle or interception is made, blues return to their own half, and three whites must attempt to win back possession in a similar 8v3 overload (2b). The first team to achieve 100 completed passes, accumulated from each time they are in possession, is the winner. We will vary the number of defenders to change the difficulty of the task.


• In the high-energy passing game, one of the three blues intercepts the ball


• Play now moves into the other half. The coach serves a new ball in with the whites up against an 8v3 overload

How do I progress the session?

We create a new possession game using two floaters. This fitness-themed task starts off 3v3 in a 15×15-yard box with one floater, who works with the team in possession. The other lone floater is located in a similar box 20-30 yards away (3a).


• The progression uses two boxes 20-30 yards apart

A team has to complete five passes before transferring the ball to other floater, at which point everyone sprints to that box where the task continues (3b).


• When five passes are made, play switches to the other box

We progress the game further by adding in a third box to give the team in possession a choice of where to direct the long pass (3c).


• Adding a third box and a new floater presents an additional long passing option

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

Intensity of passing and communication is essential throughout. In the 20×10-yard game, the emphasis is on defenders to press as a three, with attackers expected to make a minimum of 10 passes per phase.

For the two-box possession game, we’re looking for the speed of transition and players’ versatility in combining short and long passes.


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