This practice is designed to challenge players abilities to control possession of the ball and quickly transition to win back the ball when possession is lost.

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.

Do you want to improve your ability to plan and deliver great sessions? Sign up for our Foundations of Session Design course here.

Practice Overview

Topic: General defensive transition

No. of Players: 9 – 18

Goalkeepers: N/A

Practice Type: 3v3+3

Offsides: N/A

Pitch Size: 16 x 16

Timing: 15 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 Coaching Community.

Key For Diagrams
soccer training diagram


A square shaped playing area set up to accommodate 3v3+3 game in a rectangular area. A increase/decrease in the size of the playing area will likely decrease/increase the challenge point respectively.
This figure shows an example of the transitional element of the practice occurring.
This figure shows an adaptation that supports consistent high quality movement throughout the practice.

One player from each team rests on the sideline ready to switch into the play whenever a teammate in the middle chooses.
This figure shows how the practice may be adapted if we have additional players in our session.

Two support players (white) have been included to support the players in possession.
This figure shows an example of how we might included an active rest between working bouts of the practice.

During the rest period each team of three is given a ball to pass and move with. This will increase the number of passing and receiving repetitions each players does during the practice without requiring additional time. 


This practice is designed to challenge players abilities to control possession of the ball and quickly transition to win back the ball when possession is lost.

Player focus on their collective response to their team losing possession.


Set up a square area with 9 players inside, made up of 3 teams of 3 (see figure to right). The ball starts with one of the players on the two teams in possession (reds and yellows), the defending team (blue) immediately chase the ball to win it back. If 8 consecutive passes are made the two teams in possession receive a point. If the defending team (blue) get the ball, they immediately look to keep possession and the team that lost possession immediately transition to chase the ball and win it back. This scoring system will likely incentivise the out of possession team to work hard to win the ball back and get points of their own. The first team to 5 points wins. This game is highly physically demanding for all players so adequate rest between bouts should be allowed. Also, if you notice movement quality decline well in advance of the game stopping due to the 5 points rule, it may be better to use a timing system for the games such as 3-minute games with 3-minutes rest between games.

Observations & Interventions

What you might see

  • A decline in movement quality in and out of possession

Actions you might take

  • Reduce the time of each playing bout and increase the rest between bouts.


Is the session too easy?

  • Reduce the size of the playing area

Is the session too hard?

  • Increase the size of the playing area

Did you enjoy this Session Plan?

Become a PDP Member and have access to the world’s largest library of Session Plans, Q&A Videos, Masterclass Discussions, Coaching Guides & Research Reviews.

Become a PDP Member
Popular searches: defending, finishing, 1v1, playing out from the back, working with parents