This practice is designed to focus players attention on passing forward to create opportunities and score. In possession, the session is particularly valuable for central midfielders and strikers, but can be adapted for a variety of player numbers and positions. Out of possession this practice provides a great chance for defensive central midfielders or centre backs to work together in combination to stop the attack and play forward. Realism is reduced by creating a fairly small playing area and allowing for offside rules to initially not being in play.
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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The structure of this practice lends itself to a number of outcomes, including:
- Forward passing
- Combination play
- Creating and scoring
- Screening and blocking
- Attacking/defending centrally
Key elements to observe and encourage are:
- Movement of players in possession to create forward passing opportunities
- Timing of movement
- Weight, shape, type of pass
- Patience of defenders and clinical forward passing when winning the ball
Topic: Combination Play
No. of Players: 4-12
Practice Type: Skill practice
Pitch Size: 30 x 15
Timing: 20 mins
Age Group: 7+
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
This practice is designed to provide players with opportunities to practice combination play, forward passing and breaking lines with passing and movement. The coach can adjust the constraints to restrict players to only playing forward with a pass (no dribbling) and progress to allow forward supporting runs.
Set up a rectangular area with a zone for the defenders to start in. Mini goals provide an incentive for the defenders when they win the ball and transition to attack. If you have no goalkeeper, a scoring zone for the striker to drive into, or limited touches (e.g. two touches to score) could add value. With younger players, try and expose them to a variety of roles, and with older players this has real value as a position specific practice. Ensure a good supply of footballs and players who may be on non-contact or lighter training load could be used as a server. Alternatively, rotate players through positions every 3 sets.
Observations & Interventions
What you might see
- Players playing forward too quickly
- Players being conservative and playing slowly
Actions you might take
- Start the practice by saying both midfielders must touch the ball before going forward.
- Reward players if they can score in less than a given time (e.g. 8 seconds)
Adaptations: Is the session too easy?
- Make the space smaller – less space to pass through
- Allow defenders to press
- Add a defender to go 1v1 with the striker
Is the session too hard?
- Make the space bigger – more space to pass through
- Create an attacking overload (e.g. 3 midfielders + striker vs. 1 defender blocking)
Would you like to know more about planning sessions?
You might be interested in our foundations of session design course created by UEFA A Licensed Coaches, Dave Wright and Dan Wright. They will teach you everything you need to know about designing world-class sessions that your players will love.Foundations of Session Design