Support play

Cahaba Springs coach Aaron Beard has shared one of his favourite sessions, focusing on supporting play and helping with defensive training. Players work on through balls, angled passes, chips and more. It trains players to time their runs, arc their runs, and be creative. The zones help players practise beating the offside trap.

Set up

Create a 30×30-yard area with 10-yard zones at each end. For the progression, use cone goals, small goals, or large goals with keepers. We’ve used 14 players.

How to play it

Split players into two teams of seven. The coach serves to start and restart. The game is directional. Each team scores by having a player receive a pass under control in the opponent’s zone. Attackers and defenders are not allowed to enter the zone unless making a run or defending against one.
You can add a progression by placing a small goal, or a large goal with a keeper, at the end of each zone. You can use both, creating two progressions. Limit touches in the zones to one or two. If using a keeper you may want to make the zone wider.


Encourage players to be creative in order to open up scoring opportunities. Make sure all players are moving into good supporting positions. Keep players from getting lazy and camping out, and look for well-timed passes made at the right angle and right speed.

    1. Play begins when the coach serves a ball in. Vary the way you serve in the ball
    2. Make sure players are spread out throughout the playing space

    3. Here an attacking player sees an opening and times a run into the opponent’s end zone
    4.The player with the ball recognises the run and sends a pass at the right angle and speed

    5.Here the attacking player takes a one-touch shot on goal after making a good run into the zone
    6.If the keeper makes a save, that keeper serves the ball back into play
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