Play through the thirds – Practice 1


This position-specific exercise is an introduction to playing through the field. It forces right-backs, left-backs and central midfielders to move into space to receive the ball and then look forward.



25×40 pitch, with five-yard end zones at each end.

Add a mini goal at each end, although these won’t be needed immediately. Each team starts with two players (as centre-backs) in an end zone, with remaining players (full-backs, central midfielders and two attacking midfielders/centre forwards) in the central zone.



The game starts with a pass from one centre-back to the other within the end zone. They then play into their team-mates in the central area. Teams score by transferring the ball to the opposition centre-backs in the other end zone. The session can be progressed to allow teams to counter attack if they win possession and score in the mini-goal behind their opponent’s centre- backs. Coaches can also introduce touch limits or pass limits, depending on the level of players.



Encourage quick play, combination play and effective movement.

1. Set up with two players from each team in opposing end zones. Remaining players stay within the central area

2. Teams aim to play from the centre-backs in their end zone, through the central area and into the opposing centre-backs

3. Progress the game by allowing players to counter- attack and score in the mini- goal behind the opposition centre-backs if they win possession

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