Play back time

Try using this training game to encourage your team to build up patiently until an opportunity for a lightning fast attack presents itself. Players learn to work the ball from the back four to the front players. It’s an excellent way to get players to be patient in the build up and to use the goalkeeper as an extra player to pass to and keep the ball. It shows how overloads work.

Set up

Set up an area of 30×20 split into two. We used 12 players. You need balls, bibs, cones and four small goals (or use cones).

How to play it

Split your players into two teams of six. Each team has a goalkeeper and back four with the fullbacks outside the area, who must stay there but cannot be tackled in their defending areas and two attackers in the attacking half.
Players must stay in their areas, and the keeper cannot use his hands, nor go in front of the two goals; he must stay between them – his role is to support the back four. The ball always starts with the keeper. Rotate positions every four minutes.


The big overload should make playing out from the back easier and allow players to patiently build up. It’s great for keepers using feet and movement to be in the right place. It’s also good for two attackers working together.

    1.All balls start with the goalkeeper passing out to the back four and attacks build from there
    2. The fullbacks in the back four are outside the area and cannot be tackled but must stay in the defending half

    3. Movement is vital to making a patient build up successful – if there is no forward pass go back
    4. Here the play has dragged the attackers towards the right fullback and a quick pass back to the goalkeeper opens up the left side

    5. Here the back four keep the ball until space is made by the movement of the forwards and using skill a goal is scored
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