Positive attacking play


Up to 60x40 yards


Balls, bibs, cones, 2 full size goals

No. of players

Up to 20 players + 2 goalkeepers

Session time


This training session is all about encouraging positive play from your team. It’s heavily focused on playing forward quickly to achieve an end product. In fact, achieving an end product is the main “goal” of this session and it is a successful way to rehearse your players to make fast forward breaks.

Any coach who runs this session will be guaranteed to see their players making plenty of crosses, taking all kinds of shots and scoring lots of goals.

What do I get the players to do?

Crossing into the box

Set up an area of 60×40 yards with a full size goal and a goalkeeper at each end. Split your players into two teams of eight, with two sets of three from each team lined up on either side of their own goal at positions A and B. Another two players for each team start just inside the halfway line, with one at position C and one at D, as shown [1a].


1. Each move starts with the goalkeeper
2. Player C drops deep to pick the ball up from the keeper
3. When the keeper plays the starting pass, players A and B move quickly up the wings on their own sides of the pitch
4. Player C moves quickly up field with the ball and passes out wide to player B
5. Player B crosses, while players A, C and D make runs into penalty area to meet the cross

Play begins with the goalkeeper playing the ball in the direction of player C, who has dropped deep to receive the pass in the midfield area. As soon as the goalkeeper plays the ball, players A and B move quickly up the wings on their respective sides of the pitch, staying tight to the touchline. Player C moves forwards with the ball and passes out wide to player B, who crosses into the box. Players A, C and D have made positive attacking runs into the box and one of them should attempt a shot on goal.

Play restarts from the keeper who was just defending, with the attack going the other way up the pitch [1b]. Continue the drill up and down the pitch, making sure the cross alternates between the two wings.


1. After an attack ends play goes the other way following the same routine, starting from the keeper again
2. The wide players must vary the types of cross or pass into the box

Small pitch 3v2

The second part of the training session is designed to practice a 3v2 attacking overload. It will not only encourage quick passing but it guarantees a shooting opportunity in at least three passes.

Set up an area of 40×20 yards with a goal and goalkeeper at each end, as shown [2a]. Your outfield players remain split into two teams of eight. Play a 3v2 in the main area with the remaining players from each team waiting to rotate in from the sides of their respective goals.


1. Play 3v2 with the team of three always starting. They must attack the goal in no more than three passes
2. Team mates must wait either side of the goal for their turn to rotate in to the game
3. Here an attacker receives the third pass and makes a positive finish

Starting from the keeper, the team of three begins with the ball and they must attack the opposite goal in no more than three passes. Once the move has died out, one player from the team that has just attacked goes off the pitch and a player from the defending side comes on to go 3v2 in the opposite direction, as shown [2b]. Play continues like this, with players taking their turns to rotate in and out.


1. The previous move has died, so an attacker leaves the field. His team now become the defenders
2. A new player from the original defending side comes on to give his team a 3v2 advantage as they turn into the attackers
3. The new attacking team now has three passes to create a scoring opportunity

Crossing 6v4

The third part of this training session is aimed at getting your players to use width to attack and it helps teams practise the full range of crosses and passes into the box.

Set up a playing area of 60×40 yards with a goal and goalkeeper at each end, as shown [3]. Split your outfield players into two teams of ten, with each team having six attacking players in one half and a back four in the other. You will be running two separate but simultaneous 6v4 drills, one in each half.


1. Play starts at the halfway line in both halves at the same time. The attacker begins with a pass out wide
2. The winger must stay wide and get the ball in. Look for different kinds of crosses and passes. Here he plays a low ball across the box
3. The cross at this end is high and central. The attacker makes a well-timed run to head the ball

Play starts from the halfway line in both halves, with an attacker playing a pass out to a winger. The wide player must stay wide and he has to get the ball in from the wing with an array of approaches, crosses and passes. You want your wide players to be setting up the attackers to take as many different kinds of shots on goal as possible. Look for the attackers to make space and to time their forward runs well in order to meet the incoming ball.

Ensure the attacker who starts the move from the halfway line alternates his passes between wings.

What are the key things to look out for?

As the session is all about positive attacking, you need to make sure players take responsibility to beat their opponents with positive forward movement and to create numerous different kinds of goal scoring opportunities.

For players, there’s always the temptation to play it safe instead of being positive, so make sure you encourage them to be daring in their moves.

How would you put this into a game situation?

I would build the session up into a full 11v11 game, but I would talk to the players about runners, passes, and trying to be positive in the final third of the pitch.