Double team

The practice allows you to start to introduce the idea of how multiple units on the field start to work and interact with each other. It also introduces the idea of recovering once the ball passes you on the field.

Why use it

This activity is allows you to build on the defensive relationship between your centre backs and your central midfielders in this phase of play.

Set up

3 zones (10 x 20) to form 30 x 20 are in front of goal, 1 GK, 4 attackers (in white, 2 in the zone nearest goal, 2 outside furthest zone from goal), 4 defenders (2 in zone nearest goal, 2 in zone furthest from goal).

Area can be changed depending on the age/ability of the players.

Goalkeeper in the goal. Attackers are trying to score in the goal, defender are looking to win the ball and find the coach/target player as quick as they can.

Addition players can be added depending on squad numbers. Full backs, wide midfield players can also be added as the practice develops to make it more game realistic as the practice goes on.

How to do it

All players in phase 1 must stay in their respective zones. The attacking players are looking to transfer the ball through the zones to their 2 forward players, once the ball has travelled through the 1st zone one of the defenders in this zone may recover and make it a 3v2 game.

Progression 1 – 1 attacker may also move into the next zone

Progression 2 – All defenders and attackers may move into the next zone.

Regression – Forward player receiving the ball has to take a minimum number of touches EG 4 touches (This is crucial in giving the recovering player’s time to create the double team scenario with the central defender).


Initial you want the midfielders to try and prevent penetration into the forward players, if they do this successfully then think about making the area larger and more of a challenge for them. When the ball does travel past them you are looking for the centre back to prevent the turn and a quick recovery from the central midfield player. A common problem is that if the forward players are crafty they will not hold onto the ball long which will compromise your opportunities to win the ball (look at Regression above to combat this). Another potential problem is that the distance between the 2 lines is to great for a double team, a simple fix for this is to change the area size of the middle zone to bring the units closer together.

Defending in pairs

    1. Starting positions of the central midfield players should be to prevent penetration into the forward players.
    2. Recap of pressure, cover (don’t allow the penetration forward).

2v2 defending

    3. Central defenders need to get to the attacker quickly (with the correct technique) to make sure that attacker isn’t able to turn.
    4. Central defenders need to make sure that their starting positions aren’t too tight so that they are giving up immediate penetration to goal.

Defending in pairs

    5. By curving their recovery run the central midfielder is able to cut off the passing option to the opposite forward player hopefully creating a 1 vs 2 scenario for the defending team.
    6. A quick transition once the ball is passed them is needed by the central midfield players so that they can hopefully.
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