Explode into the box

Exploding into the box is one of Lionel Messi’s most effective attacking weapons. Get your players to try this drill and they too could be destroying defences in seconds

Why use it

When attacking, runs into the box need energy, changes of pace and changes of direction. Players need to experience how short bursts of speed and movement can be explosive near the goal.

Set up

Mark out an area of 25x20yards, with a goal at one end and two five-yard channels at the other. We’re using eight players. You need balls, bibs, cones and a goal.

How to play

In the first channel a server has five balls ready to play into two attackers in the main area. The two players in the second area must play like Messi and burst into the box but they cannot move until one of the attackers in the main area touches the ball. Defenders score a point by returning the ball to the server. Rotate all players after five balls have been played.


The timing and type of run from the two attackers will determine how effective the moveis. Attackers must make decisions based on what they see ahead of them and where the space in front of goal is.

    1. The server plays into an attacker, releasing the runners into the box. The movement should open up space to receive the ball and burst past the defenders to shoot at goal
    2. The players without the ball should try and drag defenders away to make space in the box

    3. Defenders must hold play up as much as possible but good passing will create space and a switch from one side to the other is a good way to exploit it
    4. Timing of runs is vital to success when two or three passes are made to set up a chance at goal

    5. If the goalkeeper or a defender wins the ball they must try to get it back to the server to score a point
    6. Be sure to note the score after five balls then rotate the players to see which are the most effective Lionel Messis
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