Play into the number 9 – Small-Sided Game


The practice will assist teams that find it difficult to play into the number 9, working on the hold-up play, combining with the number 9 and the number 9’s finishing techniques.


Set up from the goal line to the halfway line, using the width of the 18-yard box. Each team needs two players in the wide channels to act as wingers.


The practice starts with the goalkeeper, who passes into any defender. That defender then tries to play a slide pass, as previously seen in the skill practice. Before receiving, the number 9 creates space by ‘showing then going’ and trying to score. Players can mix up how they score, combining in central areas or playing out wide to score.


Encourage positive positioning for the number 9, and positive passes from the server and midfielders. The number 9 will need to make intelligent movements to evade their marker. A progression could be the wingers both joining the attack once the ball is played out to either one of them, to create an overload, thereby making more chances for the number 9 to score.


1. The goalkeeper starts the game with a pass to their defence

2. The defender then looks to play into the number 9

3. The number 9 looks to score or create a chance for a supporting teammate

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