Offside: decoy vehicles

All players need to know how to beat the offside trap and how to stay onside, particularly forwards and midfielders. This session will help them learn how to do it. When opponents play a defensive high line or favour the offside trap, they are always vulnerable. This teaches players to get behind the defence with well-timed runs and passes.

Set up

The playing area can vary from 40×30 yards to a full pitch, depending on age and ability. Divide the area into thirds. Each ‘end third’ has three defenders and two attackers, and the centre contains four midfielders.

How to play it

The server begins each phase by passing to any midfielder. Midfielders combine before passing to either forward at either end. Under pressure from defenders, forwards hold the ball up and pass back to any midfielder. As soon as the ball is passed back, all opposing defenders must ‘step up’ to try to play the forwards offside.
Both forwards must drop to stay onside. As they do so, midfield players make forward runs from deeper positions and the midfielder in possession attempts to find them with a well-timed and angled passes.


Forwards must act as decoys and learn to stay onside, and midfielders should consider the timing, speed and angle of their runs and passes.

    1. The game starts with a pass from the coach into the midfielders
    2. The midfielders must combine with one of the two forwards, who plays it back into midfield

    3. The midfielder must try to split the defence and play a ball into one of the attackers. Here the defenders are quick and step up for offside
    4. Take one of the defenders from an end zone and add them into the middle to put the midfielders under more pressure

    5. Here the midfielder has played a great ball to beat the offside trap and score
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