Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

A pressure and overload game that keeps on evolving


This game is about pressing and dropping in tight areas of the pitch. It helps your players’ decision-making skills where overloads are concerned – their judgment of when to press and when to drop during a game, depending on numbers and position on the pitch.

Playing in exercises that have a game structure helps players understand training principles.

How to set it up:

  • This game requires cones and balls.
  • Use two 30×20 yards areas with a gap between of 10 to 20 yards. The bigger the gap, the fitter your players need to be.
  • Two teams – whites and greys – play 4v4 in each area, with a five-yard cone goal at each end but no keepers.

Getting started:

  • Start both 4v4s at the same time, instructing one team when to press high and when to drop back to cover lower down the pitch. Play for five minutes.
  • Now assign numbers – in both boxes whites are 1, 2, 3 and 4. Greys in both boxes are 5, 6, 7 and 8.
  • Returning to the game, when you call out a number the two players who have that number must switch pitches to create overload scenarios.
  • Play for a further five minutes.

Progressing the session:

The players now don’t have numbers, and can play in either box. If greys are winning in one box but losing in the other, players can switch to assist, leaving team mates behind to defend their lead. Play for 10 minutes.

Why this works:

As the players switch pitches they leave and join different overloads, adapting their game in the process. In the progression, the decision of when to support the other team is left to the players. The challenge is very match-like in that respect – when to press and when to drop.

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The diamond united

dave clarkeIt is interesting to speculate how Roberto Mancini will galvanise the galactico-style squad he is assembling at Manchester City.

Reports suggest he is going to copy the formation used by Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea which helped them win the Premier League last season. And what a diamond formation it could be.

This is how I would play the diamond formation at City…

World Cup winner David Silva will be the tip of the diamond, the outstanding Yaya Toure at the base, with Gareth Barry and latest recruit James Milner left and right.

Now that looks a strong set up to me and a great use of the diamond midfield.

Although Silva made his name at Valencia on the left, I’ve seen enough of him to know he can operate just behind an attacking pair – with lots to choose from lets say Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor.

Study this clip of a goal by David Silva for Spain against Poland. Watch how the support is in front and at the sides of the player on the ball and watch how Silva at the tip of the move continues his run and scores the goal.