Prepare your team for playing one man down

Get your players practising the following soccer training drill to help them cope in match situations when the team is one player short.

In preparation for matches where the team is one player short, I tell my defenders to play a tight line and not get pushed and pulled out of position by the extra man. I cut the front two down to just one and tell my midfielders I want them to run at the opposition and create as many chances as they can.

When you're coaching your players in this situation, save your key coaching points until the end of the soccer drill before talking them through with the players.

How to set up the drill

Soccer drill to get players practising for when they are a player short in matches
Set up a 6v6 game on a small-sided pitch. You can either use two small, coned goals at each end (four goals altogether) or large goals with goalkeepers.

Every player on each team has a number.

How to run the drill

Start and play as normal, then after a couple of minutes shout numbers one and two, and the team – in this case team A. Those players must leave the field and jog/run around the boundary of the field.

They then re-enter the match at the exact point they left. After they have returned, the coach tells players 1 and 2 of team B to exit and run around the field.

The next players to leave are 3 and 4 of team A, etc.

Key soccer coaching tips: the coach may want the team with the extra numbers to speed up play to capitalise on their numerical advantage. However, a more conservative build-up to find the "holes" may be the coaching preference. Defensively, the team with numbers may want to play high pressure, looking for double teams and providing adequate support to the ball.