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.

Instructional Video

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.

Additional Information

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.

Practice Overview

Topic: Physical Conditioning Practice

No. of Players: 6-18

Goalkeepers: Yes

Practice Type: Small Sided Game

Offsides: N/A

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 Slack Community.

Key For Diagrams

Diagrams

Practice set up assuming 3 teams of 4. 2 work, 1 rest. Games may last 2-3 minutes Adjust the work:rest ratio and duration of the games based on the age & physical capability of the players.
When a player passes, they have to move to a new square. If they enter a team mates square, the team mate has to exit and find a new square. This results in constant movement.
Example of all players for the team in possession rotating. Blue defenders must track their opponent constantly.
Practice adapted for smaller groups using the same pitch layout.
Practice adapted if you have uneven numbers at training. The neutral bounce player should be rotated every set as it’s essentially a resting role. You could limit this player to 1-3 touches.

Objectives

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.

Organisation

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
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