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A player looks to challenge a player dribbling with the ball.

Challenging session: read and react

Nimesh Patel, coach development officer, shares a session to help focus on transitioning to attack after winning the ball.

This session will help players:

  • understand how to win the ball back
  • keep the ball once they have won it
  • learn how to move into a counter-attack.

If you like this idea, download the session plan and give it a go. And don't forget to share your experience on the England Football Community. We'd love to know how you got on.

Session setup

For this example, we've used half a pitch and 16 players. To get set up, split your players into pairs and mark out a few small gates using cones inside the area.

Tactics board

Looking for a bit more detail? Check out Nimesh's tactics board video for this session.

Coaching tips

Get your players to think about how they can use their upper bodies. How can they position themselves to apply pressure before making a tackle?

In the first progression, once the attacker has either got to the end zone or lost the ball, have them move to the back of the line of the other area.

Try to place your players in specific areas depending on where they play. If your players operate in a shorter, wider area, try that pitch. If they play in a longer, narrower pitch area, give them more practice there. For example, the longer, narrow area could replicate the defensive area for players in full-back positions.

The first progression can be continued by having the attacker start in the area. They then have the ball played into them with their back to the end zone. The position that the ball is played in can also vary to wide areas to replicate in-game scenarios.