This practice provides players with a high level of repetition around a 1v1 moment in the game. Attacking players are challenged to run with the ball at speed and win their duel. Defenders are tasked with trying to win the ball from the side and transition to attack if successful. Be mindful of group sizes to keep repetition high and ensure pitch dimensions allow players plenty of space to exploit when running with the ball.

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: 8-16

Goalkeepers: If possible

Practice Type: Skill Practice

Offsides: N/A

Pitch Size: Half pitch

Timing: 15 – 20 mins

Age Group: U9+

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 Slack Community.

Key For Diagrams
soccer training diagram

Diagrams

Set up a long rectangular area. Players start at one end opposite to the target goal. The multiple stations are marked out to show how this activity may be set out for a whole team training group.
Practice adapted for an increased challenge point. An additional defender has been added into the zone from the marked line and the goal. Keep the time limit to score in place to encourage the attacked to beat the defender in front quickly.
This image shows a scenario where the defender has won the ball. Now the defender will attempt to RWTB back to the start position. Encourage the attacker to recover possession of the ball.
Practice adapted for to position defender on other shoulder of attacker. Also, the attacker and defender are now approaching the target from the other side.
Practice has been adapted to begin with a teammate playing the ball into forward space to begin the practice. Both the attackers and defenders triggers to move are now the pass instead of the first touch. Watch for the pass being too long to allow for practicing attacking 1v1 with a defender on the shoulder.

Objectives

This practice is designed to encourage players to attack forward space with a defender on the shoulder. Players focus on dribbling and running with the ball (RWTB) in a forward direction with the intent to score.

Organisation

Set up a long thin area as shown in the figure to the right. The shorter the area the easier it is for the player in possession. Set up as many lanes as are required for your group, it is recommended you avoid more than 4 players per group to allow for each player to maximise practice repetitions. One player starts with the ball at their feet (attacker), an opposing player (defender) is positioned one stride to the side of the attacking player. Once ready, the attacking player RWTB across the marked line and finishes in the target goal. As soon as the attacking player touches the ball the defender is live and tries to stop the attacker from scoring. If the defender wins the ball, they RWTB back to the start position. This transition moment is critical to encouraging quick transitional play.

Observations & Interventions

What you might see

  • Players stop playing once the defender wins the ball
  • Attackers immediately stop forward movement, allowing defender to position themselves between the ball and the goal

Actions you might take

  • Reward players with a point if they can win the ball and get back to their starting position with possession of the ball
  • Set a 5-second time limit to score

Adaptations:

Is the session too easy?

  • Start the defender closer
  • Reduce the time limit to score

Is the session too hard?

  • Start the defender further away
  • Reduce the length of the playing area

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