Tackle and counter attack

This activity places players in a game environment where they are set up to win the ball back from the opposition and counterattack quickly to a waiting target. The game works on group decision-making and helps players understand when and where to press the ball and tackle to win it back. It also encourages quick counterattacks.

Set up

Use half your normal pitch. Set up a 20×25-yard central box between the penalty area and the halfway line, splitting the box in two. We’ve used 15 players.

How to play it

Split the players into two teams of seven plus a keeper. The red defending team has six defenders in the centre box and one high up the pitch near the opposition keeper. Split the attacking players into two waiting groups on opposite sides. The keeper plays for the attacking team.
The coach plays a ball into first group of three attackers, who enter the centre box and try to dribble through it. The six defenders try to stop the penetration by winning back the ball. The player who wins it must make a good pass into the forward, who has three touches to score. Play four three-minute games.


It is a good session for counterattacking with a big overload in favour of the team who are attempting to win the ball and score.

Dribble through the end line

    1. The coach plays a ball into the first group of three attackers who try to dribble into the central box. They score by dribbling through the end line
    2. The defenders start in the defensive half of the centre box and once attackers are in the box they can move to defend and attempt to win ball back

Tackle and dribble to shoot

    3. The defending team wins the ball back from the attackers and immediately look to counterattack
    4. Here the counterattacking team get a pass to their centre forward, who turns and goes to goal with a 1v1 against the goalkeeper

    5. Progress this game by adding a central defender to the white attacking team, but allow one of the red defenders to burst out of the central box to support the forward and make it 2v1
    6. The two teams of three attackers take it in turns to try to get the ball past the six defenders. Here the second team have a turn
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