Set Up / Objectives

This skill practice builds on the Man City ‘Overloads In Advanced Areas‘ theme, developing our previous Technical passing practice (46-P1). Here we have 2 v 1 in both deeper and advanced areas, with a 1 v 1 in the central zone. Objective is for 2 defenders to combine in 1 or 2 touches to play into central player.

Central player can only move into wider zone after pass has been made (unopposed), emphasising weight of pass and timing of run. Central player must then play forward into 2 attacking players (2 v 1) who must score in 2 passes in one of 2 mini goals. If the defending team wins the ball, can they score in mini goal as a 3?

  • Attacking Emphasis 65% 65%
  • Defending Emphasis 35% 35%

Age Group

Number of Players


Key Objectives

This shows how units can create pocket overloads to break defensive lines in the midfield and attacking thirds. We can see from this situation between City and Chelsea during the 2017-2018 Season, how Pep attempts to create an overload in the half spaces (pockets).

Birds Eye View | From Game to Practice to Game

We can view the area of the pitch in which this session would be positioned, placing the practice into context for both players and coaches. Our number 10 (De Bruyne) in the example drops into the space, and Silva (11) makes run in behind.

Zoom In | Quick Combination Play

A closer look shows clearly the passing options in possession and the challenge faced by defenders. Focus on creating space to play forward and movement into spaces to receive advance. Possible progressions could include the 10 is now opposed and so will have to wriggle out of trouble in central areas and 10 and 11 can rotate with 11 dropping off the shoulder to receive in central zone space to play forward.. Be creative!

Key Coaching Points
  • Social | Understand teammates positional play
  • Technical | Penetration passes to break defensive line
  • Psychological| Positive focus, recognising when to be patient and when to play forward quickly
  • Is my central player finding the space they need to play forward?
  • How does my constraints influence the game and do we need to amend further?
  • Where are player showing initiative to solve problems witheir own solutions?


Difficulty Rating

Click For Audio Support TBC

Session Tips

How to Support Attacks Effectively (05-P2)

How to Support Attacks Effectively (05-P2)


Soccer Practice Organisation / Set Up

This soccer training session is focused on improving support play between players. We position 5 sets of 2 poles with a 3 yard gap between each on a pitch 40 by 40. Objective is for team in possession to combine with a teammate with a pass through a gate, focusing on speed of support, reactions to opposition screening and use of the switch to break defender’s pressure.

  • Attacking Emphasis 75% 75%
  • Defending Emphasis 34% 34%

Age Group

Number of Players


See all of Coaching Theme 5: http://go.touchtight.com/kvpoKz

Key Coaching Point 1: – Losing Opposition Players

In this 5 v 5, the team wins a game if they can score through 2 poles in 3 touches, or if they keep possession so long that they get down to a single player as the last player standing.

The possession team will lose a player every time they play a succesful combination through the poles, balancing challenge after each goal scored.

Key Point 2: Use Full Space For Switch Of Play

It’s vital that players use this whole space to draw defenders away from possession and from protecting gates. This will provide an option for the passing team to switch play when they are under concerted pressure, but timing to switch is crucial. The team must have 1 player to support this switch of play allowing the pass to be played through the gate and not isolate individual teammates. 

Game Challenge: Player Drops Out After Goal

On scoring, the possession team will have a player drop out of the practice. This will create an overload for the defending team increasing the challenge for the team performing well. Have an individual activity for players who drop out and manage this as a coach effectively.

Game Success: Last Player Standing

To win the game without the quick 3 pass connection through 2 gates, the team must end with a single player. As less and less players are in the practice, you can close off half or a quarter of the pitch to ensure the overloaded defender has a better chance of winning the ball.

Key Coaching Points
  • Tactical | Transition (Dispersal v Immediate Support)
  • Technical | Angles and distances of support
  • Psychological | Recognition of switch to make quick passing opposite side

– How are your players using the space effectively?

– Do you need to make the pitch smaller as the play progresses?

– What are players doing that you do not want them to do and how would you address this as a coach?

How to keep Possession in A 4 V 2 Rondo (05-P1)

How to keep Possession in A 4 V 2 Rondo (05-P1)


Organisation / Set Up

In this Opposed 4 v 2 practice, possession team must keep the ball in each of the 4 parts within this 20 x 20 area, against 2 defending players who can press to regain in any area.

If defenders win the ball, they can now play a 2 v 1 in a single 10 x 10 area to make 5 passes, before moving into another square to do the same. When attacking team win the ball back, they keep possession the initial 4 v 2 again.

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

Age Group

Number of Players


See all of Coaching Theme 5: http://go.touchtight.com/kvpoKz


Key Points – Dispersal (Pitch Use)

Players must make full use of this 20 by 20 yard area, keeping the ball moving in each area to keep possession. Dispersal to create space making it difficult to for defenders to win the ball is crucial and gives possession players more time and space to play around defenders. 

Progression 1: Must Split Defenders

When they get they opportunity they must look to split the 2 defenders to score a point as shown. To achieve this, they must look to move defenders apart by keeping the ball on the outside and forcing that pressure. 

Progression 2: 2 Defenders Go 2 v 1 On Regain 

If the 2 whites win the ball, they must make 10 passes in this single area to score a point against a single defender. They must quickly move into a single 10 by 10 yard area and complete these passes under pressure using this smaller space to keep the ball moving.

Progression 3 – Extra Defender Joins After 10 Passes

After 10 passes another defender can press in this small zone to regain quickly creating a 2 v 2, ensuring players are checking shoulders for any pressure that might arrive behind them. As well as checking shoulders, players will increase their level of communication with extra pressure triggered by 10 succesful passes. 

Key Coaching Points: Split Defenders to Break

If players can split the 2 defenders quickly, they can then move into the empty square unopposed, awaiting one of the two remaining defenders to press to regain, repeating the process. How long can the pair keep possession? Set challenges for paired players with 3 teams of 2.

Key Coaching Points

– Short, sharp and concise passing
– Understanding between players of each other’s movement to keep possesson
– Supporting angles to create space and time to keep the ball


How can you draw players in to create space?
What is the best passing angle you can provide for your teammate?
How quickly can you win possession to force the possession team to move the ball at pace?

How to Combine Off Striker Hold Up Play (04-P3)

How to Combine Off Striker Hold Up Play (04-P3)


This practice develops passing and movement with quick, short sharp combinations in tight spaces off the striker. With players in each corner of the square, player 1 plays a square pass to player 2, who then passes into the striker to set player 1 who crosses over with player 2. Once connected, a pass is played through to the opposite pair who will repeat the sequence in the opposite direction.

  • Attacking Emphasis 100% 100%
  • Defending Emphasis 0% 0%

Age Group

Number of Players


See all of Coaching Theme 4: http://go.touchtight.com/K72ems
The main focus of the session is to build supporting runs off the striker with cross over movement from midfield. This is most likely going to come from attacking midfield players or inside wingers looking to connect off the central striker.

Key Coaching Points: 1 Touch Set /3rd Man Runs

Timing is crucial and the ability to play on one touch to break defences down quickly is important to transfer to the game. If you have younger players and they require that extra touch, allow 2 touches until you can add that constraint to challenge them further.

Progression 1: 1-2 Combination to Maintain Flow

 After central combination with the striker, the forward running player must play a 1-2 off 1 touch with the support player in the opposite corner, playing the pass into space for the receiving player to run onto. This is key in games, as players look to connect quickly and move onto a moving ball rather than receive one to feet under pressure from defenders, especially in attacking areas where there is space for them to break into.

 There are many more progressions that can be applied to this soccer practice, including a coach call for players to change direction, adding another ball, rotating the striker with the passing player on each sequence and much more. Just art is knowing when and how to introduce each one to challenge the team and then individuals specifically. 

Key Coaching Points

Timing of movement to meet set from striker

Weight of pass into striker

Control to set oncoming support players

Intelligence to pick up sequence and adapt with progressions


1. What are the challenges you are facing in this practice?

2. How can you move the ball quicker and maintain control?

3. Where on the pitch would you expect to see this and can visualise your movement?

How to Rotate to Create Space in a Rondo (04-P2)

How to Rotate to Create Space in a Rondo (04-P2)

This practice focuses on players rotational movement to create space in a central area, before reacting to winning possession. With a 30 x 30 Yard area and 15 x 15 Yard central area, 4 players keep possession against 2 centrally. 2 defending players who win possession can breakout with 4 outside players to create a 6 v 4 overload. Develop rotational movement between central players and outside players to create space to exploit.

  • Attacking Emphasis 60% 60%
  • Defending Emphasis 40% 40%

Age Group

Number of Players


See all of Coaching Theme 4: http://go.touchtight.com/K72ems

Objective: Rotational Movement to Keep Possession

Central players must rotate every 5 passes, through effective verbal and non verbal communication (e.g. Eye Contact and hand gestures) to move opposition players around.

Coaching Effect: Transition when Possession Won

When Blues win possession, they must now break out into the larger area into a 6 v 4 overload practice. Blues can rotate central players providing more flexibility, yet keeping 2 players in the central area at any one time, with whites pressing on the outside to regain. 

Progression: Add Goals to Add Focus and Challenge

Progress by now introducing 4 goals as shown. Whites can finish in any of the 4 goals on the outside after making 10 passes or splitting 2 defenders. focus on speed of possession transfer as soon as defenders are split.

Key Coaching Point: Initiate immediate possession after goal

Coach must pass a ball in immediately after they score in one of the 4 mini goal to encourage whites to finish in any of the other 3 goals, again by making 10 passes or splitting defenders in the central zone. 

Key Coaching Point: Draw Pressure on the Outside to Switch Play

Objective for Blues when they win possession is to keep the ball on this expanded area to make 10 passes before finishing in the goals themselves. If whites win the ball they take it back to a 4 v 2 in the central area, repeating the challenge to get 10 passes or split both defenders.

Key Coaching Points
  • Tactical | Recognise when to rotate to move opposition players
  • Technical | Passing quality to keep the ball in tight spaces
  • Social | Player understanding of when to move out and replace teammates in space created
  • Where is the space on regaining possession and how can you exploit this?
  • How do defenders react with slow possession and when you speed up possession?
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