Understanding the Practice
This practice is a futsal-inspired session which encourages forward passing, forward runs, combination play and provides an opportunity to work on 1v1 finishing. The framework of the practice can be adapted for a variety of themes and various player numbers. If you’re trying this practice for the first time, locking players in to zones as outlined in the instructions below can be helpful in bedding in the structure of the practice. As you gradually alter the constraints and allow more freedom, repetition of the outcomes may reduce, while realism will increase.
About the Video
In the video below, UEFA A licensed coach, Dave Wright demonstrates the practice with a group of U15 players.
The structure of this practice lends itself to a number of outcomes, including:
- Forward passing
- Forward supporting runs
- Playing out of the back
- Combination play
- Defending outnumbered
- Attacking overloads
- Close range finishing
With so many possible outcomes within one practice, it’s advisable to consider which options best suit your players needs. You may have a midfield 3 who need work on quick combination play, so you could make the pitch quite narrow (to represent areas on the pitch that are congested). You may want to work on forward runs, so allow players to break into the final third with clever movement to create overloads. You may have an individual who needs to work on their dribbling, so could allow that player to dribble into the next third while others are only allowed to pass. There are lots of ways to adjust the practice and it’s a game that the players will love.
Topic: Combination Play & Finishing
No. of Players: 8 – 20
Practice Type: Small Sided Game
Pitch Size: 45 x 20 (6v6)
Timing: 20-40 minutes
Age Group: 8+
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
The focus of this practice is to work on forward passes from midfield to a striker. Midfield combinations may reflect your formation (e.g. a midfield 3 or 4) and you can constrain the practice to help strikers with 1v1 finishing, focus on forward runs or work on both. Ideally, you will see lots of forward passes and forward runs from midfield as players learn the game
Set up a pitch divided into thirds. Adjust the size depending on the age. A narrower pitch is recommended to reduce options for sideways passes. Each group are locked into their third. The ball can only progress by being passed forward. You can allow 1 midfielder to drop in and help in the build up. You can adapt using the following rules:
- Insist striker must go 1v1 when they receive the pass
- Allow one midfielder to make a forward run to support the striker
- Allow defending midfield to track the forward runner
- Allow a defender to dribble into the middle third in build up
- Unlock players in all zones and observe how they maintain or change shape
Observations & Interventions
What you might see
- Players passing forward but not running to support
Actions you might take
- Insist on one touch finish meaning the forward runner has to support the striker quickly
Adaptations: Is the session too easy?
- Make the space narrower
- Use 1 touch finish rule (to encourage forward runs)
- Allow defenders to track forward runners
Is the session too hard?
- Make the space bigger
- Allow 2v1s in final third (forward run but no defender)