Changing of the guard

Reacting to quick transitions is key to this session, as is holding onto the ball under pressure. This includes using clever play to shield the ball and get passes away.

Set up

Set up an area of 20×10 yards. We’ve used 11 players in the session. You need balls, bibs and cones.

How to play

Split your players into three teams: two teams of four and one team of three. One team of four is on the two sides outside the square, and one team of four is in the middle. The team of three has one player in the middle and one at either end. The team of four outside the square cannot pass to each other on the same side and they team up with the team of three. If the team of four in the middle intercept the ball, they switch places with the team on the outside.


This activity is all very match relevant: pressing in transition including speed of press; pressing when team has a numerical balance; and quick adjusting of mentality from being in possession to transition to defending. It also helps to create mental images of the next pass or position.

    1. The game starts with the team of three who play keep ball with the team of four on the outside of the square
    2. The team outside the square cannot pass to a player on the same side of the square

    3. The pressing team must get tight on the passing team and try to force an error
    4.Here the pressure pays off and the team in the centre wins the ball

    5. When the pressing team wins the ball they must swap places with the four on the outside of the square
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