Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Simple game for a lot of passing


I find this small-sided game is a great way to get your players passing with purpose when they are under pressure. Clever or disguised passing make all the difference in this game as teams try to stop the opposition scoring points.

Give your players permission to do what they want to create space and make good passes. Tell them they must be constantly on the move to pass and receive the ball.

How to play it

  • Set up a 4v4 game with two target players at either end.

  • Use the 18-yard area or half of a seven-a-side pitch and cone off the two ends.

  • Tell your players each team must get the ball and score “goals” by successfully passing to either of the target players.

How to coach it

  • Tell your players they need to be quick and sharp. They must win the ball by intercepting it or by tackling for it.

  • Instruct them to practise moving to and from the ball to create space.

  • Once the ball has reached the target player, the team can keep possession by moving so the target player can pass it back to them.

  • Tell your players to switch the ball to the opposite target player as quickly as possible.

How to change it

Tell teams they past the ball from one target player to the other without the other team touching the ball. If the other team gets a touch, it goes back to the target player and the other team receives the ball from the target man.


Sometimes simple is best – try 2v2

David ClarkeI often set up a number of simple 2v2 games for my players to give them plenty touches of the ball and force them to think tactically and make decisions about when to drop when to tackle when to intercept or when to dribble or pass. There’s a whole lot of coaching going on in this one.

What I look for: quick defenders who move the ball quickly when they win it; good defensive positions – individual and pairs; awareness of space.

Key points

  1. Speed – keep passes and touches to a minimum and be ready to spring into action.
  2.  Move directly towards the goal/target.
  3.  Sometimes, the fast break is not possible. It is important in these circumstances for defenders to keep possession and wait for the chance to play a forward pass.


How to set it up

Play 2v2 in a 20 yards by 10 yards area, split in two halves.

How to play it

  • Each team lines up on its goal line.
  • Play a 2v2 with the defending team restricted to its half.
  • To score a point, an attacker must dribble the ball across the defenders’ goal line.
  • If the defenders win the ball, they can launch an immediate counter attack.
  • The attackers then have to get back to defend as quickly as possible.
  • Once either team scores a point, or the ball goes out of play, possession is handed back to the original attacking team.
  • Play for, say 2 minutes, then swap team roles.

How to develop it

  • This time, if the defenders win the ball, only one can enter the opposition’s half.
  • The defender in possession can either dribble towards the goal line or pass to their partner, who breaks quickly into the other half.
  • If the counter attack isn’t possible, the only way a player can release their team mate into the opponent’s half is by crossing back into their own half with the ball.

Don’t overcomplicate your coaching

Sometimes I think coaches can overcomplicate coaching sessions and warm-ups with young players.

Complicated pass, move around one cone then around another, up to the goal line…. you know the kind of drills I mean, just to get across a coaching point. And the same with warm-ups before a game – I’ve seen coaches spend 10 minutes describing and explaining the drill just to warm-up players.

Often what young players need are simple left foot/right foot passing moves. If you watch these clips of Liverpool training and Arsenal warming-up they show you how simple it all can be.

There are no complicated moves here, just simple left foot/right foot, jumping, running and passing.

It always serves as a good reminder of what young players need to accelerate their soccer education to check out what the big boys are doing.

 Soccer Skills and Drills