This practice is designed to work on high speed conditioning through counter attack and defensive recovery runs. Players are tasked with scoring as quickly as possible.

About the Video

In the video below, PDP Coaching Advisor, Dan Cooke demonstrates the practice with a group of U17 players.

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

Additional Information

The structure of this practice lends itself to a number of outcomes, including:

  • Quick attack
  • Forward passing/running
  • Creating and scoring
  • Recovery runs
  • Transition
  • Counter attack

Key elements to observe and encourage are:

  • High speed movement
  • Timing of pass/movement
  • Creating and and finishing
  • Quick play
  • Desire and effort

Practice Overview

Topic: Combination Play

No. of Players: 7-22

Goalkeepers: Yes

Practice Type: Phase of Play

Offsides: Optional

Pitch Size: 60 x 44

Timing: 15 mins

Age Group: 12+

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 long narrow pitch in a central area. Attackers start behind the line or beside mini goals (as pictured). Defenders start above the black line. Attackers serve the ball in to start the practice and press as quickly as possible.
Blues start the practice by serving the ball into the two central defenders. The reds have 5 seconds to score. Blues are tasked with pressing as quickly as possible. If blue win it, they counter-attack. If reds are successful in scoring in the mini goals, a second ball is served in and the blue players attack. Each set includes two chances to attack and defend.
This image shows the reds with an option to score or pass. Should the reds score, a blue player would serve a second ball in to the three attackers and play restarts.
This image shows the second ball being served in by the blue server should the reds score and the blues attacking
This image shows blues successfully pressing and intercepting the pass from the red defenders which triggers a counter-attack. Blues pass forward and run forward, limit the blues to 8 seconds to score to encourage positive intent.


This practice provides an opportunity for repeated high speed runs in attacking or transition moments.


Set up a long narrow pitch with enough length for the players to move into space at full speed. Set up 3 mini goals/gates on half as an incentive for the defending team. The attacking team attacks towards the large goal & GK. The practice starts with an attacking player serving the ball into the 2 defenders. The defenders have 5 seconds to score into the mini goals. If the attackers win the ball, they have 8 seconds to score. If the defenders successfully score, have a player on hand to serve a second ball in to the attackers who break out on attack. Rotate defenders in from the side, and rotate attackers from behind the mini goal. Adapt time limits according to age/ability of your players. The defenders must be set up above the halfway line (see image) to ensure there is adequate space behind them for attackers to exploit.

Observations & Interventions

What you might see

  • Players attacking too slowly
  • Players not being direct in attack

Actions you might take

  • Adjust time limit for attack
  • Encourage forward passing/running

Adaptations: Is the session too easy?

  • Make the space narrower
  • Reduce time limit in attack

Is the session too hard?

  • Make space bigger
  • Increase time limits

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