How to Attack Centrally in Tight Spaces | 01-P1

How to Attack Centrally in Tight Spaces | 01-P1

How to Attack Centrally in Tight Spaces | 01-P1

Between a 20 and 30 yard area depending on age group coached,  we play a 3 v 3 plus targets changing to a 4 v 4 with a goal and GK at each end. Players must combine with a central target player to score with quick combination. Area has two central 5 yard zones where target players must play 1 or 2 touch combinations with the attacking team.

  • Attacking Emphasis 75% 75%
  • Defending Emphasis 25% 25%

Age Group

Number of Players


Audio Session Support

by Leon Jackson

See all of Coaching Theme 1:

Progression 1

Focus efforts on playing through either of the 2 central floaters. Defenders will be protecting target players, so players may need to play around the opposition to create better angles to combine. 

Progression 2

Progress the practice by allowing rotation between central target players, with a single player in each box for each team.

Progression 3

Central players can now rotate with a teammate after their pass. This will focus players and motivate targets to join in attacks, by checking for advanced teammates to connect with. Focus attention on playing on the half turn to ensure they play quickly. You may even stipulate a 2 touch rule to focus them on having to assess teammates’ position.

Progression 4

Central players can drive out of the square to initiate attacks quicker on their first touch. Now central players will be focusing on the space they can drive into, rather than teammates to connect with. This is fine, as they become more positive with the ball and identify available space to penetrate with their first touch. 

Key Coaching Points

Try to allow free play and recognise opportunities for possession team to combine quickly with forward passes. If opposition start to protect target players, may need to enforce passing conditions (e.g. 10 passes a goal) to force pressure. Be creative and think about other progressions that could be implemented using STEP model, or ask players to create their own.


– How well do you connect with central players and why?
– Where are you facing difficulties and how can you overcome this?
– How does each progression change your attitude to the game?
– What problems have you had to solve?


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