High intensity soccer training drill

Simulate match intensity with a quick-change soccer drill where attackers and defenders swap roles to develop their basic soccer skills.

Soccer drill to prepare for match conditions

In a match, the elements are constantly changing. You can be attacking on your own one second, then have a team mate or team mates in support to pass to the next.

In your training sessions it is a good tip to use soccer drills that are designed to help your players prepare for this. You can sometimes see players switching off when you do repetitive drills that have them doing A, B or C and they don’t have to think about it.

This soccer drill involves a high intensity, near-continuous game using five players. You can set up two or three of these depending on numbers at your training session.

image shows setting up 3v2 training drill

Soccer drill tips

Set up a few 15 x 30 yard pitches, marking out with cones a couple of small goals at each end. You will need one pitch for every five players.

Choose three players who will be given the ball first against the remaining two. Decide which end the three are to attack. The attacking team starts with the ball bringing it out from the goal line. They can choose to pass or dribble, but no direct goals are allowed on the first touch. The emphasis is on restarting quickly.

  • The three play against the two until either: the two defenders win clear possession of the ball; they must have it under control; or the ball goes over the goal line last touched by an attacker.
  • If either of these two things happen, the two players who were defenders become attackers trying to score at the opposite end in a game of 2v1 against whichever attacker last touched the ball, the player who lost possession or took a shot.
  • The attackers retain possession on all balls that go out over the side lines.
  • You will need a coach or knowledgeable soccer parent to act as referee in the drill…the point is to designate immediately which player stays on and which players go off (ignore the “it wasn’t me” shouts). The attackers who go off should quickly step well out of the way of this new 2v1 drill and sit out until it is finished.
  • The 2v1 drill continues until it resolves in the same fashion as for the 3v2 drill; the lone defender wins clear possession or the ball goes out off one of the two attackers.
  • Now the three players who just played 2v1 immediately join together in a team of three attackers against the two who had to stand out, with the three now attacking, so we are back to step one.


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