Running from deep

Once you have taught an individual how to keep the ball in a 1v1, use this session to show your players how this skill can help the team in a match situation.

Why use it

This helps players decide whether to go 1v1 to create space to pass to the target man up front, or make the easy pass and support play with a run into unmarked attacking areas.

Set up

Set up a 40×30 yard area with a goal at each end and an eight-yard attacking zone. We used 12 players.

How to play

Play a 5v5 plus keepers. All players from both teams start in one half, apart from the defending team’s target man, who stays in the other half ready for his team to win the ball. The target man for the attacking team must stay in the zone in front of goal and can be one or two touch. The ball must be passed to him but he can only set up goals and cannot score himself.
The attackers must try to score. If the defenders win the ball they counter using their target man in the other half, who can hold up the ball and pass. He must go into the zone in front of goal and the opposition target man moves up to the halfway line, with play now in the other half.


There is a lot of running from deep to support play as the target man can only pass back into the supporting team-mates. If players go 1v1 to beat opponents it can speed up the counterattack.

Attacking the final third

    1. The coach starts the session with a pass to the attacking team
    2. One player from each team is the target man. When attacking he must stay in the end zone but cannot score – he must set up goals

Running from deep

    3. Now the individual skills come into play – 1v1 is vital for the attacking team to progress but here they lose the ball
    4. The counterattacking team now need good individual 1v1 decisions to get the ball quickly to the target player

Running from deep to counter

    5. Here the team has built up play and scores a goal from a set up by the target player
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