Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Get your players to look up and look around

davidscwnewI run this session to get my players looking around when they have the ball. It means they’re aware of where their team mates are and where there’s space on the pitch that can be exploited.

For the session to really work, players that are not in possession need to look to see where opposition players are so they can see where they are able to receive a pass.

I usually run a handball session first so players get a feel for the positional elements without worrying about ball control with their feet.


  • Set up a 25×15 yards area as shown in the top picture, with flags (or bibs) of the same colour on the corner poles.
  • The game is 6v6, with players in a 2-3-1 formation.
  • When a player passes the ball, he must shout out the flag colour. The team gains a point after making five consecutive passes. Passes must be from the chest and cannot go above head height.
  • If a player is tagged with the ball in his hands, or a pass is misplaced, the other team takes possession.
  • Make sure players stay on the move and are at match pace, and change the flag colour throughout the game.
  • Play for five minutes.


  • For the second part, use a 40×30 yards area, as shown in the middle picture, with small goals.
  • In a 2-3-1 formation, players must defend the goal while trying to score in the opponent’s goal, but before they pass the ball, they must call out the two flag colours.
  • Each team must make four passes and call out colours correctly before it can score.
  • Change colours at regular intervals, as shown in the bottom picture, to keep players on their toes.
  • Play for five minutes.

Technique and tactics

  • Players adopting a side-on body position for receiving and moving forward will be able to see both ends of the pitch, and more flags. It’s easier to tell young players they need to see both flags rather than expecting them to understand the technique behind opening their body to play.
  • Players also need to concentrate on good passing and control, in all areas of the pitch.