Tight defence? Switch play

Breaking down a defence isn’t always as simple as playing passes into the space behind – sometimes that space is on the other side of the pitch that your players can exploit.

Why use it

This session helps teams to prepare for a game against a team that comes to defend in numbers, or ‘park the bus’. It gives players help with developing their creativity so they can break down even the most resilient backline.


You need balls, bibs, cones, mannequins and training poles. We used 8 players in the session

How to do it

You need 8 players starting in the positions shown with two players out wide (one crossing at one end and one receiving at the other end) and a player on the two mannequins at each end. A ball starts at each end the winger plays a one-two with the player on the first mannequin then a one-two with the player on the second mannequin before the winger passes across to the opposite wing. – wingers swap with the player on the first mannequin after the pass who moves to the second mannequin. The player on the second mannequin moves to the wing. So you have a ball moving down each wing and players combining to pass the ball from one side to the other like a switch of play. Make sure players work the ball with good technique and they move at a good tempo on both sides so the balls are not catching each other up.


Walk your players through this as the technique relies on the movement of the ball and the players. It needs crisp, accurate passing, good first touch and good dribbling on the wings.

Tactics Tips Switch Play

    1. The ball starts on the wing and is passed to the player on the back mannequin
    2. The winger plays a one-two with the first player then a one-two with the player on the second mannequin
    3. The final pass is out to the opposite wing where the player there dribbles up the pitch after receiving the ball
    4. The wingers must anticipate the pass as the ball should be passed into their stride as they reach the pole.
    5. This should be played slowly at first before the tempo is turned up and players try to keep the two balls moving around the circuit
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