Setting the traps – small-sided game


Coach your team to defend in a high press and set traps to win the ball in the wide areas.


Set up a 9v9 game on a half pitch with two mini goals placed on the halfway line in the wide areas. Divide the pitch into three channels horizontally and vertically.


The attacking team plays on a maximum of three touches to build up play and score in any of the two mini goals on the halfway line. If the attacking team has the ball in one wide area, the defending team must vacate the opposite wide area (conditioned to encourage numerical overload traps and if the ball is switched, it will test the team’s ability to regroup and defend collectively). The defending team must press high and coax attackers into defensive traps and overloads in the wide areas. If the defending team wins the ball, they must attempt to shoot on goal within eight seconds.


  • Forward players continue to defend if front defensive line is penetrated, and support by providing cover and/or overloads
  • Players move across the field to create overloads and lock the ball into wide areas
  • Collective movements are encouraged to ensure effective compact defending
  • Use sideline to make play predictable and initiate traps

1. Attackers begin with the goalkeeper playing out

2. Defenders try to force play into wide areas and then must only occupy two vertical channels to remain compact

3. If defenders win possession, they must shoot within eight seconds

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