The focus of this session incorporates a number of my key principles: pressing, counter pressing and playing in tight areas whilst avoiding pressure. It’s about keeping possession in tight areas and then playing away from pressure, helping us to switch the play quickly. MORE
Technical passing with movement
This session is about encouraging players to receive the ball with the back foot and developing movement through deliberate practice.
These activities are both challenging and fun and they try to develop habits that will stay with players. It’s all about being comfortable receiving the ball with the left or right foot, using good body position and developing the right touch and feel. By adding movement to the exercises, we also start to concentrate young minds on the fact that the ‘picture’ changes as the ball and players move.
It’s very much a technical practice for the individual and for small groups. I would use it a couple of times a week and would certainly return to it on a regular basis, depending on the age and proficiency of the players.
Up to half a pitch
Balls, bibs, cones
Number of Players
Groups of 3 players
Introducing movement: 15mins
Third man runs 1: 20mins
Third man runs 2: 20mins
Small-sided game: 20mins
What do I get the players to do?
We set up with two players 10 yards apart. The ball starts with player A and both players run forward passing to each other as they are running, as shown . We develop the practice by introducing one-touch play and passing with the outside foot; we switch the players regularly so they practise both left and right foot passing.
We start slowly and encourage the players to pick up the tempo as they feel confident. Players should be accurate and not have to break stride to receive.
We set up with three players 10 yards apart. Player B (the middle player) starts with the ball and passes right footed to player A, then makes an overlapping run behind player A. Player A passes one touch with his left foot to Player C who is on the run, as shown [2a], and then player A overlaps player C. Player C passes right footed to player B, as shown [2b], and the sequence continues.
When players receive from the right, the key technical points we want to see is players letting the ball come across their body and using their left foot to pass; and when receiving from the left, players should use their right foot.
Third man runs 1
We set up with three players in a triangle shape, with each player 10 yards away from the others. The players should be using the principles and techniques from the previous practices.
Player A starts with the ball and passes right footed to player C. Player C passes one touch right footed to player B, and player B passes left footed to player A who has made the third man run, as shown .
To repeat, player A becomes the central player at the point of the triangle and B and C become the base of the triangle.
This practice must be one touch and performed with a good tempo.
Third man runs 2
Similar to the previous practice, we set up with three players in a triangle, with each player 10 yards away from the others. Players are limited to first-time passes.
Player A starts with the ball and passes right footed to player B
and makes an overlapping run around him. Player B passes left or right footed to player C and follows the pass. Player C passes left footed into player B’s run and B makes a pass to A at the end of his third man run, as shown . Repeat as previously.
How would you put this in a game situation?
We set up an area of 60×40 yards and play a 6v6 game [not shown], encouraging forward runs and first-time passing. We want to see players receiving the ball on their back foot, especially on their weaker side. Letting the ball come across their bodies should start to become the norm for players.
What are the key things to look out for?
We want to see players using a good body shape, receiving on the back foot and on the half turn. Players should also be comfortable with both feet and capable of passing and moving at high tempo.
We want to see good communication and players collaborating with their team mates, reading situations and understanding triggers for movement.
What are the typical mistakes players might make and how do I avoid them?
Players can pass and move too quickly, causing the practice to breakdown. To remedy this, we encourage players to perform the exercise at a slower pace until their confidence grows.
Another common mistake that we see is players making
inaccurate and erratic passes, especially using their weaker
side. To solve this problem, we get them to play with a slower tempo to encourage confidence on their weaker foot.