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Young players play football

Intercepting session: interceptors

Lee Brown, FA coach development officer, shares an intercepting coaching session. 


Set up an area to suit the age and ability of your players. Then put an end zone and a goal at each end. Make the middle third of the pitch bigger than the end zones.  

In our example, this is a 4v4 game. So, set up as many areas as needed if you have a large group.  


How to play

This game consists of two teams. Both try to work the ball into their attacking end zone, then shoot at the goal.  

One player from each team must position themselves on their own end-zone line. Their job is to defend their end zone and goal by intercepting passes from their opponents. The rest of the players start in the middle of the pitch.  

Players can go into their opponent's end zone to make themselves an option to pass to. But they're not allowed in their own end zone unless an opponent has received the ball within it.  

To score, teams must successfully pass to a teammate in the opposition's end zone. Then, on receiving the ball, the player has to put it in the net.  

If a goal is scored, the player defending the end zone is given the time and space to start an attack from their area.  

But if the defending team intercept an attempt to score and then score themselves, it's worth two goals.  

If the defending player on the end zone line intercepts the ball, they can move further up the pitch to begin an attack. However, if they lose possession, they must return to the end zone line. 



If your players master this game – or find it too hard – try adding a progression. If you're looking for ideas, you could:  

  • ensure the end zone line player is replaced with one of their teammates if they intercept and start an attack  
  • award five goals if the end zone line player intercepts and sets up a goal  
  • allow players to enter their own end zone when they're defending 
  • increase the number of players defending their end zone line.  

But remember, learning takes time. So don't alter your activity too quickly or too much. To help, try using the STEP framework (Youth Sports Trust, 2002). This is a great way to keep things fun, engaging and appropriate.  
If you use this session with your team, let us know how you get on by posting in the England Football Community