Close encounters

This session teaches players to create chances from tight spaces near goal. The challenge of time makes it important to play in the tight space. Players learn the benefits of playing quickly when tightly marked.

Set up

Set up an area of 38×15 yards split into three zones. The outer two are 15×15 and the centre zone is 15×8. Create scoring zones by placing a cone one yard from the goal post in the corners of each goal. You also need a cone as a “defender” at all give and go spots. We’ve used multiples of three players. You need balls (as many as possible), plus bibs, cones and two goals.

How to play it

Start with one player working at a time for one minute. Two players stand in the centre zone for the working player to pass to and to receive a ball from that he must shoot with first time. He then uses the other working player and shoots at the opposite goal. Shots need to go inside the zone at the far post. You can also have competition between two teams to see who scores the most goals in three minutes with each player working for a minute.


There is a lot going on in the session even though it is quite simple and non-opposed – it develops ball control, passing, receiving and shooting from a pass.

    1. The red working player must get a ball and play a give and go with one of the servers
    2. Players must work quickly to shoot and then get back to collect another ball and pass to the second server, running onto a return pass ready to take a shot at the other goal

    3. After one minute progress the session, with the first server now being the player to make the second shot at goal after a one-two with the second server
    4. Goals only count when scored from a shot to the far post that goes between cone and post

    5. Add a second team, with both running the original sequence from diagram 1 at the same time. See which team scores the most goals in three minutes. Each player works for one minute
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