Third-man running


This is an introductory activity to get players activated and to start cementing a thought process of an up, back and through combination.


Split into four small groups working opposite each other in two separate lines, 20m apart. One player from each group will start in the middle.


Play starts from the front of the line into a middle player who will set the ball back for the original passer to run on to. The setter spins and joins the back of the line from which the ball was passed. The receiving player passes to the opposite line but remains in the middle to become the next setter.


The coach can encourage players to consider different aspects of their technique during this unopposed practice. These techniques include: Scanning – when, why and how?; Body shape – getting open and side on to receive; Weight of pass – punching the ball in firm and to the safe side; First touch – showing pass appreciation for your teammate in order to kill the ball sympathetically into their stride; Communication – to coordinate the correct timing of the sequence; Movement – ask players to move away and back to check their run and create space.

1. Players set up in two lines facing each other, with a player in the middle

2. The first player passes to the middle player and then moves to receive a set back

3. The middle player spins to join the line and the receiver passes to the opposite line and becomes the next setter

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