Understanding the Practice
This practice is a small sided game designed to work on physical conditioning. The key condition is that after every pass a player must move into a new square, and no two players from the same team can be in the same square, whether it’s a movement after a pass, or off the ball. This results in constant rotation and non-stop movement meaning the players work exceptionally hard. Depending on how fit your players are, you may task them with playing 6 x 3 minute games, but adjust your expectations based on age, stage, physical capability and of course environmental influences like the weather.
In the video below, UEFA A licensed coach, Dave Wright will talk you through the practice and some of the key considerations, adaptations and areas to consider.
This practice is exceptionally demanding so be mindful of how big the space is. With adult players, you may use a pitch the size of two penalty areas divided into four quadrants (44 x 36). The key constraint is that no two players on the same team can ever be in the same square. After every pass, players must move into another square. Anytime a team mate enters the square, the player must move into a new square (prompting their team mate to do the same resulting in constant movement/rotation.
Reduce the pitch size with younger players and ensure it is age appropriate. This practice aims to have players working at 80% plus of their physical capability for short intervals of 2-3 minutes. If you have 3 teams, one team would rest while two work. Games could be 90 seconds – 3 minutes long depending on the level of fitness in the group. If you had four teams, you may do shorter games so rest time is reduced. E.g. two teams play, two teams rest, but games are 2 minutes so no team is resting more than 4 minutes. Ensure a quick transition as teams come on and off the pitch. It’s highly recommended to keep accurate time using a stop watch.
Topic: Physical Conditioning Practice
No. of Players: 6-18
Practice Type: Small Sided Game
Pitch Size: Varied
Timing: 12-20 minutes
Age Group: 13+
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
To work on physical conditioning in a small sided game. The practice is designed to have players working at upwards of 80% of their physical capacity for short, sharp games of 2-3 minutes.
Set up a rectangular pitch divided into four quadrants. With adult players this may be as wide as the penalty area and twice as long (44 x 36). Adjust the space according to the age and capability of the players. The rules of the game are that every time a pass is made, you must move to another quadrant. If a player enters a team mates quadrant when moving on (dribbling) or off the ball, they must get out of the space into another area. Ensure the goalkeepers have a good supply of footballs.
Observations & Interventions
What you might see
- 2 players caught in the same quadrant
- Players forgetting to rotate (under fatigue)
- High levels of fatigue
Actions you might take
- Remind players of the match rules
- Encourage players to work hard
- Reduce the length of matches if fatigue is too high
Adaptations: Is the session too easy?
- Make the space bigger (more physically challenging)
- Make the games longer (more demanding)
Is the session too hard?
- Reduce the time of games
- Reduce the area size