This practice is designed to provide players an opportunity to work on combination play in pairs, focusing on the concepts of supporting beyond, beside and beneath.

About the Video

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

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Practice Overview

Topic: Combination Play

No. of Players: 8-22

Goalkeepers: Optional

Practice Type: SSG

Offsides: No

Pitch Size: 30 x 15

Timing: 20 mins

Age Group: U7+

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


Set up a four goal game in an age-appropriate area. Teams play 2v2 and utilise the extra (target player) to combine and score. Focus on quick attack, switch of play and combinations to go through or around the opponents.
An example of the blue team executing an angled run on to a straight pass. Encourage this movement and the opposite – straight run/angled pass in order to break through the opposition defence.
An example of blues combining for a one touch finish by utilising their target player (#9)
An example of a teammate supporting beside the ball in order to combine for a ‘one/two’ to eliminate opponents and break in behind.
An example of a supporting player beneath the ball. Ideally, we want to see players beside and beyond as much as possible, but if a teammate is effectively pressed or caught with their back turned, that may be the trigger to support beneath.


To provide players an opportunity to work on combination play in pairs, focusing on the concepts of supporting beyond, beside and beneath.


Set up a pitch with 4 x mini goals. If you don’t have goals, use gates. If you have GKs you could set up a big goal and small goal. The team in possession are tasked with taking on their opponents in a 2v2. The attacking team can score in either goal off a one touch finish. This encourages forward supporting runs. The aim is to combine as a pair to score, or use the target player (#9) as a bounce player. Bounce players can be restricted to one or two touches depending on their ability. You can remove the one touch finish rules if you have low numbers or feel it’s too difficult for the players, allowing them to score from anywhere. If blues score a goal, the blues keep the ball. All four players leave the pitch and the next two teams come on, with blue starting in possession. Winner keeps possession.

Observations & Interventions

What you might see

  • Players passing backwards or playing safe
  • Players not reacting quickly when losing the ball

Actions you might take

  • Encourage players to be aggressive and confident going forward. Double goals could be offered for one touch finish if you aren’t implementing that rule.
  • Give teams a bonus point if they win the ball back in less than 6 seconds.


Is the session too easy?

  • Make the space smaller
  • Add a defender on the target player
  • Add in one touch finish
  • Restrict players from passing backwards

Is the session too hard?

  • Make the space bigger
  • Add an extra bounce player (2v2+2)
  • Allow players to score from anywhere

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