Skip to main content
During a 1v1 practice, a player runs with the ball while his opponent looks to make a tackle.

A practice is an activity that you use in your session. There are four main types of practice, and these are categorised using the spectrum below.

Towards the spectrum's left, practices focus on helping players develop their technique. This is about the mechanics of an action. For example, how a player passes, dribbles, shoots or turns.  

Towards the spectrum's right, practices focus on helping players to develop their level of skill. This is about using a technique in the right place and at the right time. To work on skill, players need to experience a realistic football environment.  

Below, we explore each area of the spectrum in more detail.  


This type of practice involves no opposition. These can be solo activities, for instance where players learn to master the ball, or where everyone is on the same team. For example, a simple game of two players passing the ball to each other.

Unopposed practices are great for working on a specific technique (like short passes). However, they aren’t the most engaging of activities.

These activities involve two or more individuals, plus the addition of interference. For example, a simple passing game in which a floating player tries to ‘get in the way’. Tackling isn't allowed, but distraction is. This impacts the decision-making of everyone involved. 

Unopposed practices with interference sometimes look messy. But they allow players to start working on their technique and in-game skills. 

These activities involve a classic game of football, but one team has more players than the other (e.g. a 4v3 match). As your team play, keep your topic focus in mind. For example, think about how many shots are taken if you're working on finishing.   

Overloaded practices are a great way to build technique, skill and game understanding. They allow players to apply what they learn in a realistic football environment. 

Matched-up practices

These activities involve a classic game of football in which each team has the same number of players (e.g. a 5v5 match). Just like an overloaded practice, always keep your session focus in mind. For example, if you're working on passing, observe where your team succeeds and where they need more work.  

These practices are the most realistic activities you can use with your players. They allow a team to practise individual and group tactics, and develop their understanding of the game.  

However, if you use them with large groups, players may have fewer touches on the ball. 


...every practice has different pros and cons. The best way to support your team’s development is to let them try them all. Mixing things up will help you focus on different outcomes – and different skills.