Free to attack

Young central defenders are often slow in coming forward, but once they have played this game you won’t be able to stop them joining the attack.

Why use it

In training coaches can often instruct players to make certain movements that are important but sometimes something different from one of your players is what is needed. Giving centre backs freedom to roam could be the key to success for your team.

Set up

Set up an area of 50×40 yards with a five-yard central zone. We’ve used 16 players in this session with two keepers and a 3v3 at both ends of the pitch and two neutral ‘central defenders’ in the centre zone. You need bibs, balls, cones and two full-sized goals.

How to do it

The aim is for each team to win the ball and play it to one of the players in the centre zone who creates a 4v3 overload in favour of the attacking team. You want this player to try and combine with the other players to score a goal. If the ‘central defender’ scores it is worth three points and if any other player scores it is one point.


Getting your defenders to join the attack can build overloads that will give your team an attacking advantage over the opposition.

Get defenders attacking

    1. The central defenders in the centre zone are neutral, waiting for the chance to join the attack and create an overload for whichever side is attacking

      2. The central defenders can only be released by a pass into the attacking half of the pitch and only one can be released at a time

      Get defenders attacking

        3. Here the central defender has played a one-two with a team mate and set up a chance to shoot and score for three points

          4. The teams in the other half of the pitch must be aware and ready for the ball to come back in play on their side

            5. If a goal is scored or the ball goes out of play, it restarts with a goal kick into the players in the goalkeeper’s half of the pitch

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