Basic football support skills game

One of the basic football (soccer) skills your players need to help the team develop is the ability to support the ball carrier by moving into areas that take advantage of space. This allows your team to keep the ball and move it around the pitch.

This soccer coaching practice is one I use all the time with my teams and is very relevant for all age groups of soccer players. It gets your players used to supporting the player on the ball as the team moves up the pitch. This support skills game also helps them learn to be in the right place at the right time.

Set up support skills game

  • You need to set up an area 30 yards by 20 yards.

  • Use four attackers, two defenders and two target men in bibs – one at each end of the pitch.
  • You don’t need goals.

small sided soccer game to coach support play skills

How to play support skills game

  • The ball starts with the first target player, who passes out to one of the four attackers. The attackers must combine by using clever, accurate passing and support in order to pass the ball to the second target player.

  • Once the attackers have passed to the second target player, they have to get it back to the first player again. And so on until either:
  1. The defenders win the ball and the game stops.

  2. The task has been completed a number of times (say, four), or,
  3. A time limit is reached (say, two minutes)
  • When the game stops, swap the target players, defenders and attackers so everyone gets a turn at playing all three roles.

How to develop the game

  • The ball must be kept below head height.

  • The attackers must play one or two-touch.
  • Add more attackers or defenders.

Key soccer coaching tips

You want to see your attackers supporting play by using angles and space. Make sure they are aware of:

  • Their team-mates.

  • The opposition.
  • The targets.

What makes this game successful is accuracy, timing and the weight of pass.

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Click here for a soccer drill to encourage support play as it moves up the pitch.