Recover and regroup – Small-Sided Game


This places individual and unit pressure in a game-related scenario, linking it to how to delay opposition and regain shape in a match situation.



Use 40×30-yard pitch, marked into quarters across the width. If you have greater numbers, consider two pitches as recovery runs on a larger pitch will take their toll. Put three balls beside each goal for the progression.



Play for five minutes. Get players to run at each other, encouraging 1v1s. Introduce individual delay for the team out of possession – can nearest player apply pressure and slow down an attack after transition? Can team get into two units and defend a quarter each?

Get them to communicate who is doing what. Progression 1: Three balls beside each goal are each team’s “lives”, used up with a goal or out of play etc. Encourage teams to win balls from opponents, transition and score. Progression 2: If out-of- possession team gets everyone back in their half within five seconds of a transition, they get another life.



Introducing “lives” forces players to think “do I simply stop the attack, or try to win ball back and counter?”. Ask: does your centre-forward need to get back and defend the goal, or can they be in the first unit, ready to transition and break? Have fun, encourage 1v1s, and let players play.

1. Two teams play on a pitch separated into quarters

2. Progression 1: Each team has three balls with which to score. They can also win a ball from the opposition to counter attack

3. Progression 2: Teams can gain an extra ball if they get all players back in their own half within five seconds of losing possession

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