This practice is provides players an opportunity to work on their 1v1 skills with a view to playing forward as much as possible. Players will be challenged with finding space to receive, receiving skills, retention under pressure and of course completing a pass in order to get success. Be conscious of the physical demands within the practice and try to be creative in how you could adapt this to make it easier or harder.

About the Video

In the video below, Dan will talk you through the structure of the practice, various outcomes and how you can adapt it for your players.

Would you like to enhance your knowledge of physical conditioning for soccer? Click here to learn more.

Practice Overview

Topic: 1v1

No. of Players: 4-16

Goalkeepers: N/A

Practice Type: Skill Practice

Offsides: N/A

Pitch Size: 12 x 16

Timing: 15 – 20 mins

Age Group: U6+

Interpreting the Diagrams

The key below outlines what the images mean on the diagrams.

If you have questions about the practices, contact the PDP Team or share your views on the Player Development Project Coaching Community.

Key For Diagrams
soccer training diagram


Area set up to accommodate 4 players. A player at each end of the box act as floaters, whilst the players in the middle of the area play 1v1. If the defender wins the ball, they immediately become the attacker and look to score by moving the ball to either player in the end zones. Coach can choose whether the players stay on their pitch or rotate through other pitches.
An example of how multiple ‘1v1 lanes’ can be setup to accommodate larger groups of players. This allows for maximum play time and a variety of 1v1 opponents. For competition, you can create a ladder where the winning player move up a pitch and losing player move down a pitch.
The activity can be adapted to pose a different problem to the attacker. For example, the defender must win the ball in the half nearest to the floater currently in possession. This will likely increase the pressure the attacking player is under when receiving the ball, and reveal space to attack behind the defender.
Here the task has been adapted to allow the floaters to directly play to each other to score for the attacking player. Now the defender has to consider blocking the floater to floater passing line and be ready to press the attacking player in the middle.
Here we have adapted the activity for a 2v1 scenario. The 2 attacking players aim to move the ball into the opposite end zone. The defending players aims to win the ball and immediately attacking the other end zone.


This practice is designed to provide players with opportunities to practice 1v1 possession based scenario. The attacking player aims to receive the ball from one floater and move the ball forwards to the opposite floater. The defender aims to win the ball and take the attacking role.


Set up a rectangular area with two end zones and a half way line. An end zone floater player begins with possession and looks to pass to the attacking player in the middle. The player in the middle tries to create an opportunity for themselves to receive the ball without being dispossessed. Once they have possession of the ball, the attacking player aims to score by getting the ball to other floater. The defender tries to win the ball, if successful they immediately become the attacking player. You can create score limits for players to reach or do this on a timer of 60 second – 90 second rounds. Rest is important in any 1v1 session as it can be very physically demanding.

Observations & Interventions

What you might see

  • Defending players moving to the ball slowly
  • Players giving up when they lose the ball

Actions you might take

  • Encourage the defending players to make the challenge as difficult as possible for the attacking player
  • Reward players with double goals if they counter press and score


Is the session too easy?

  • Make the space narrower
  • Match player with a partner who is physically/technically similar

Is the session too hard?

  • Make the space wider
  • Allow end zone players to pass to each other for a point

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