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A young player runs with the ball while under pressure from another player beside him

Receiving session: getting the ball under pressure

Ben Futcher, an FA youth coach developer, drills us on a session that helps players receive the ball under pressure.

Set up a rectangular area that suits the age and ability of your players.  

This activity requires six players per area. So, if you have a large group, set up multiple locations. 

Split each group of six into three teams of two. In the example above, we have two yellows, two blues and two reds.  

The yellows (end players) are positioned outside the area (one at each end). The blues and reds play 2v2 within the rectangle.  


The aim of the game is to receive the ball. Then, work it from one end player to the other as often as possible.  

To start, provide one of the end players with a ball and let them play it into either the blues or the reds. The receiving player must then work with their partner to get the ball to the other end player. If they succeed, they try again in the opposite direction.  

The team that doesn't have the ball must defend. Their job is to stop their opponents from passing to the end players – while also trying to win the ball. If they manage to get possession, the roles switch. They become the attacking side and look to link up with the end players.  

While the game is going on, consider the following: 

  • Do your players move into the best position to receive the ball?  

  • Do your players scan the pitch to find their opponents, the space available and the passer? 

  • Do your players choose the right moment to move to receive the ball and play the next pass.  


If your players master this game – or find it too hard – try adding a progression. For example, try adding a scoring system for extra competition. Every time a team moves the ball from one end player to the other, they score a point. The first side to get three points wins. Then, the groups rotate to ensure the end players get a chance to play 2v2 inside the area.   

But remember, learning takes time. So don't alter things 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