Soccer coaching game on winning the ball in midfield

This game focuses on winning the ball in midfield and releasing to a “target man” who must set up a chance for one of the midfielders to score.

How to set it up

  • Mark out a pitch 30×20 yards.
  • Create two end zones, 10 yards in from each goal line.
  • You’ll need two teams of four players, plus two goalkeepers.


The rules

  • Each team selects one player to be the target man. This player stands in the attacking end zone.
  • The aim of the game is to make a pass to the target man. A supporting player will then receive his lay-off pass before shooting at goal.
  • Defenders can track back only when the second supporting man makes his run.
  • After a shot is taken, the shooting player swaps position with the target man.
  • The game is played for five minutes.
  • If the ball leaves play, you have a few restart options:
  1. The coach passes a new ball onto the pitch.
  2. The players take a roll in.
  3. The players take a throw in.
  4. The players make a pass in.
  5. The players dribble in.
  • There is no offside.

Why this game works

This is a great game because the quality and organisation of a team’s support play is crucial in any match scenario. For the attacking team, accuracy of pass to the target man is one thing, but only the quality of the lay off will offer the chance of a goal.

For the defending team, there are two key aims – to block off the pass to the target man, then to recognise where the threat of the bombing support player may come from. If the defenders are too late, they may not be able to get back and tackle before a shot has been unleashed.

Get your players to perfect this and you’ll see them trying it out in a match situation, it’s easy to execute, yet very rewarding.

This session is from Soccer Coach Weekly the publication that ticks all the boxes for the modern coach, from grass roots to academy and beginner to elite.

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