Time to receive

Give your players the time they need to receive the ball in the final third using the safe zone in this session.

Why use it

Use this to give players a good test of receiving skills and movement to support the man on the ball.

Set up

You need balls, bibs, cones and goals. Mark out a 36×25 yard area with 3 yard channels on the edge of the final third and a goal at each end. We used 18 players in the session.

How to do it

Split your player into two teams of 9. Play 2v2 in the end zones and 4v4 in the middle. The thin channels represent safe zones for attackers to drop into to receive the ball unchallenged. Play starts with a pass from the keeper into a player in his zone. When the attacker drops into the zone one midfielder can run into the final third, to create a 3v2 overload in favour of the attackers. To progress this game, allow one defender to enter the safe zone after the attacker’s first touch in order to speed up the practice.


Tactically, we are looking for vision, speed of thought and movement. We want to limit straight passes because they are too predictable and easy to defend. For defenders, the ability to press quickly and effectively is important. Technically, we want to see players receiving on the front- or backfoot, with a first touch moving the ball away from pressure.

Receiving skills

    1. Play starts with a pass from the keeper into a defender in the same zone and play builds from here.

      2. An attacker can drop into the safe zone to receive the ball and look to play in a team mate.

      Receving skills

        3. One midfielder can joint the attack creating a 3v2 against the defence.

          4. Movement is vital to the success of the session with all players giving options for passing

            5. In the progression a defender can come into the channel once the attacker has touched the ball.

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