This practice is designed to work on high speed attack, defensive recovery runs and has a physical and psychological focus. Physically, the practice demands high speed runs in attack and defence. Mentally, players are tasked with demonstrating real desire and an attitude to compete. This is a valuable session for helping players physical conditioning through football.

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.

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:

  • Weight, shape and quality of pass
  • Timing and speed of movement
  • Accurate finishing
  • Defensive intensity and attitude
  • 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


Soccer attacking skills training
Practice set up in the central part of the pitch in a 5v4 scenario in favour of the attacking team. Notice where the rondo box is set up and the line that defenders/attackers start on. This creates space in behind for the attacking team to exploit. Players not partaking in this ‘bout’ would wait outside the area and step in for the next set. Ensure midfield players get a chance to play in attacking roles to get their speed work in.
how to speed up your attack
Blues shift the ball in their 3v2 attempting to make 5 passes before they can pass forward to their attackers. This could be adapted to be a 4v3 or more. Attackers and defenders could also be in groups of 3 if you have larger numbers at training. Adapt the number of passes relative the the ability of players.
attacking with speed
Blues successfully make 5 passes and play forward. Blue midfielders can support the front players. Encourage forward supporting runs and quick finishing. When a goal is scored or the ball goes out, the next set of attackers/defenders get in possession.
attacking at speed
Blues successfully retain possession and create a scoring opportunity. Red defenders pursue the attackers to try and deny them a scoring chance.
attack & transition practice
This image demonstrates reds successfully winning possession and stopping the attack. From here, you could limit reds to score in X number of passes or score in X number of seconds. Use your discretion to decide, but quick counter-attack from red is the goal. Encourage blues to counter press and allow them to score if they regain the ball to retain realism and motivation.


This practice is designed to help attackers finish at speed and defenders to work on recovery runs. The session allows for physical outcomes that will help players speed.


Set up pitch in central areas that allows plenty of space to run in to. At the top of the pitch is a small box for a 3v2 rondo. Attackers must make 5 passes before playing in behind for wide attackers who are stationed outside the box and ready to attack. Two defenders mark and track these players. When the 5 passes are made, attackers can play forward and support the forward pass. If the defenders win the ball, they can score in the target goals and the game restarts. Divide your squad into 2-3 groups to manage work and rest. Defenders and wide attackers should rotate each bout or set. Rotate players across positions so they get a consistent number of sprints in. Players not participating can rest outside the area before their round commences.

Observations & Interventions

What you might see

  • Players unable to connect 5 passes
  • Players not playing forward quickly

Actions you might take

  • Reduce the number of passes required
  • Reward attackers with a bonus point if they score in under 3 passes

Adaptations: Is the session too easy?

  • Add an extra defender against the attackers
  • Make the space narrower

Is the session too hard?

  • Remove a defender to create a 2v1/3v2
  • Reduce the number of passes in order to attack

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