Return to play: support patterns

If you want your team to have more creative options in the final third, use this session to encourage players to support team-mates and improve first-touch and accurate passing. This shows how making runs and supporting play gives options to the player with the ball. Moves can involve more than two players, so all must be alert and move into a receiving position.

England FA Guidelines

  • 5 or fewer players
  • No contact
  • 2m distance between players

Set up

Set up an area of 20×20 yards with cones in the middle of each side labelled A, B, C and D. We used four players.

How to play it

A player stands on each cone (A, B, C and D). Player A plays a pass to B, who has a choice of passing to C or D. Whichever player receives the ball, the other player turns back around the cone and receives a pass from C or D and dribbles to B. Players swap positions anti-clockwise. B now passes to A, who passes to C or D and the session continues. Make sure they swap positions at the same time and be aware of the distance between the players.


Look for good first touch, communication and accurate passing. As the session gets quicker, technique becomes vital or the ball will be lost.

    1. Player A starts with the ball and makes a deliberate pass to player B
    2. B has a choice of playing a quick pass to either C or D – the player who doesn’t get the pass moves to receive the next pass

    3. Players swap positions anti-clockwise and now the passing sequence goes the other way, with B passing directly to A who can pass to C or D
    4. Here D gets the pass and C moves around the cone to receive the ball and dribble to A
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