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Two young girls play football

Pressing session: diamond duel

James Riches, FA regional PE officer, shares a session that helps players think about pressing.

Session plan

Want to try this with your team? Download the session plan and give it a go. 


Using four cones, set up a 10x10 yard diamond-shape. You can adapt this space to suit your team’s age and stage of development.
Players split into pairs and line up at opposite points of the diamond, next to a cone. One pair is the attacking team. The other is the defending team. 


How to play

The aim of this game is for the attacking team to win points by reaching the cones before the defenders. 

1v1 without footballs

The game starts with an attacker moving off their cone. 

One of the defenders then enters the diamond. They aim to tag the attacker and prevent them from getting to the cones. 

If the attacker gets to one of the side cones, it is worth one point. If they get to the back cone, it’s worth three points. 

To stop the game, the defender needs to tag the attacker or force them to run outside the diamond.  

The attacker ends the game by getting to one of the cones. 

The players then join the queue at opposing ends of the diamond. The next pair take their turn. 

Play for five minutes, or ten rounds, then count each player's score. 


1v1 with footballs

Once the players have mastered the game, it’s time to introduce footballs. 

The game starts with the defender playing the ball into the attacker’s feet. For younger players, try rolling the ball in.  

To score points, the attacker now needs to dribble to the cones. 

The defender aims to win the ball off the attacker. If they do this, they can counter and score points by dribbling to the cones. 

The game stops once the ball goes out of the diamond or the attacker dribbles to one of the cones. 

The players then join the queue at the opposing end of the diamond while the next pair take their turn. 

2v2 with footballs

You can get all four players involved in a 2v2 format to progress the game further. 

This encourages communication between the defenders and combinations between the attackers. 

The rules would be the same as the ‘1v1 with footballs’ method.



If your players master this activity – or find it too hard – try adding a progression. Here are some examples.  

  • Replace the cones at the end of the diamond with mini-goals and add goalkeepers.
  • Make it more game realistic by moving into a 3v3 game and square-off the pitch. 

Remember, learning takes time. So don’t alter things too quickly or too much. Using the STEP framework (Youth Sports Trust, 2002) can help keep things fun, engaging and appropriate.

Extra resources

Want more info on this session? Watch our:

 Once you've put this session into practice, share your experience on the England Football Community