Third man running


This incorporates the skills practiced in the previous drills into a game context, using goals and goalkeepers. It is fun and competitive but quite complex in nature so definitely one for more advanced groups.


Play 6v6 with two jokers (bounce players neutral for both sides) and two goalkeepers. All players are playing in one half, 30m x 40m. Use two mini-goals.


The Reds look to play out from the goalkeeper into a front man (joker) who will set for a teammate followed by a through ball to a third-man runner. All players break out into the opposite half of the pitch and look to score or defend the goal. If there is a turnover, the other team starts with possession and the game carries on. Offside is in play. Simplify by allowing a one-two off the bounce players to get more success initially if required.


Movement off the ball and forward runners are key. The bounce players and those looking to play through are reliant on a willing runner from deep to break lines and penetrate the opposition offside line. Keep reinforcing this point until you get multiple options off the ball – decision making and disguise then becomes a more advanced coaching consideration. You can progress the drill by removing the neutral players.

1. Reds look to play out from the goalkeeper

2. Reds aim to play into a Blue neutral player, who sets back to another Red, who plays a through-ball to a forward runner

3. Reds can then attack the opposition’s goal, while Whites retreat to defend

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