How to Support Attacks to Overload (05-P3)

This Soccer Drill begins with the coach playing the ball into an attacking player who attacks a single defender and goal, with the support of a teammate (2 v 1 outfield). If the attacking team scores, an extra player joins in creating a 3 v 1.

If defenders don’t concede they get an extra defender (2 v 2). There cannot be an overload of more than 2 players throughout the soccer practice; rotate player roles.

  • Attacking Emphasis 70% 70%
  • Defending Emphasis 30% 30%

Age Group

Number of Players


Key Coach Points 1: Using the 2 v 1 overload effectively

Players should be focused on attacking at pace, using the full width of the pitch and timing forward runs beyond the single defender with offside rules in place. Their first touch should be with intent with a heavy touch to attract the defender to engage leaving space in behind; be clinical in their finishing. 

Reward: Extra player added to create 2 player overload

If team scores we add an extra attacker creating a 3 v 1. If they don’t score then we introduce an additional defender balancing to a 2 v 2. think about balancing this for each task. For example add a time constraint, if team does not score in 5 seconds then add an additional defender. Or have a passing line where the penetration pass must be played before a certain point and observe the impact this has on defenders. 

Game Rules: Continue overloading based on success

Observe the differences between the 2 v 1 overload and a 3 v 2 or 4 v 3 and adapt the practice as a result. With a clearer advantage in the 2 v 1 and 3 v 2 overload situations we have discussed possible constraints. When it is more balanced with a 4 v 3 for example, we can tweak individual challenges. Ideas could be only 2 players can score in a 4 v 3 attacking overload, or 2 players play on one touch, be creative with your ideas and how you apply these.

Progression 1: Striker must play in attacking half

We can start to add more realism to the practice by restricting our strikers movement and having a focus point for our possession players. No longer a typical counter attack, this attacking situation focuses more on supporting possession from behind the ball and so you must address the differences betwen support beyond and support in front here. 

Progression 5

We now add a double reward for successes of teams. Not only do they gain a player for successfully attacking or defending the goal, but the opposition must also lose a player. We always maintain a maximum of a 2 player overload, allowing defenders and attackers to gain relative success. Players will need to self manage, not wanting to be withdrawn from the pitch. This therefore has a huge social and psychological influence on players. Observe this and speak to players to improve their approach to this change when possible. 

Key Coaching Points
  • Tactical – Timing of forward runs to support
  • Technical – Decision of passer to pass or dribble
  • Psychological – Recognition of space with overload v balanced numbers
  • Where is the best position to support my teammate?
  • How can I bring my teammates into play better?
  • Who are defenders staying with when overloaded? What does this mean?


Difficulty Rating


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