Split the circle

Creative play in and around the final third needs players to see opportunities to get the ball through to attackers behind the defence. This session helps develop their passing vision. This is all about getting the ball in and out of a group of players to set up attacks.

Set up

Use the centre circle of your pitch or mark out a circle with a 20-yard diameter and another circle with a 10-yard diameter inside that. We’ve used nine players. You will need bibs, ball and cones.

How to play it

Split your players into three groups of three players. Each group has a ball, with one player in the centre and two on the outside of the large circle. Start unopposed with players staying in their zones and passing from the outside to the inside and back.
Advance this so the middle players can come out of the area to receive the ball and dribble to the other team-mate.
Finally, make one trio defenders with two in the ring between the zones and one in the centre zone – they must try to intercept or block the pass.


The player in the centre must open up his body to be able to see both team-mates, one to receive from and one to pass to. This is vital for any midfielder linking play from defence to attack. Movement is key to keeping possession.

    1. Play starts with three players on each team passing from the outside to the inside – and then out again
    2. The third player must move so his team-mate in the centre can see him, making it easier to get a pass away

    3. To progress the session, allow the centre players to move into the other zone to make it easier to get the pass
    4. They can dribble around the circle and lay off a pass to the third player

    5. To progress the session further, make one team defenders and they must try to intercept or block passes
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