Return to play: Smart interplay

The session is about quick and inventive play around the edge of the 18-yard box. It’s about being inventive, firstly in tight areas, then progressing into a large area.

Why use it

Smart interplay around the penalty area gives players the green light to take risks and be inventive to create goalscoring opportunities

Set up

You need balls, bibs and cones. Set up an area 30 x 10. We used 6 players in each set up.

How to do it

Three players start at each end, two ‘wingers’ playing into an attacking midfielder. Wingers begin with a ball each in this continuous drill. They play a 10-yard pass inside, then follow the pass Receiving inner midfielders must be inventive as they move through the cones, playing a pass out on the other side They then remain in place to receive the next pass and the move continues. To progress the session tell wingers to create quick and precise combination play and one-twos with team mates around the mannequins. We can alter the style of passes – quick, to left and right feet, chipped, even driven.


Look for quick, positive and accomplished passing, good first touch and excellent player anticipation and awareness.

Smart interplay

    1. Play starts with a pass from each end by a winger into an attacking midfielder

      2. After the pass the winger follows the ball and becomes the attacking midfielder

      Passing and dribbling

        3. The attacking midfielder moves around the cones and passes the ball out wide at the other end to the winger

          4. Now add a one two from the winger to the attacking midfielder as the ball moves forward

          Smart interplay

            5. Players can be inventive with this part of the session – get them to experiment with their passes

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