Want to try this with your team? Download the session plan and give it a go.
Set up an area that suits your players' age and stage of development. Then, place a halfway line down.
For this practice, we have a 3v2 – but you can adapt the numbers to suit your players. If you have a large group, set up as many areas as needed.
How to play
The aim of the game is simple. To combine with teammates to keep possession.
In our example above, the yellow team have two players in one half and one in the other. They're up against the blue team, who have two players. The first is a 'live' defender – they can move freely in their half. While the second is a screening player – who moves side to side on the halfway line trying to cut off passing options. Think of Kalvin Phillips screening the back three or four.
The yellow team must keep the ball under pressure and get it to their teammate in the other half. They can do this by:
- simply passing it across
- dribbling past the screening player
- one of the two yellows making a run to receive a pass in the other half
- combining with a one-two wall pass to enter the other half.
If successful, the yellow team keep working together to maintain possession and move between the two halves.
Every time the ball is transferred into the other half, one of the yellows joins in to create a 2v1. The screening player then becomes 'live', with the other defender changing roles to screen the halfway line.
If your players master this game – or find it too hard – try adding a progression. For example, you could increase the area size to allow for extra players to join the game. Sticking with the same principles as before, a 4v3 game will create a 3v2 in one half at any one time. This provides the team on the ball with more decisions to consider. They'll have an extra passing option but could have to deal with more pressure from the defending team.
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.