Quick Transition Directional Play Promoting Passing and Movement Off the Ball

The following session is an excerpt from “Soccer Awareness Coaching Curriculums presented by Game Sizes: 4 v 4, 7 v 7, 9 v 9 through to 11 v 11

This eBook covers up to 14 weeks of training for each game size presented as one session per week. All sessions have small sided games scrimmage set ups as close as we can get it to finish to reflect the theme of the session

As the program moves from 4 v 4 through to 11 v 11 the focus changes from individual teachings at 4 v 4, to small sided situations at 7 v 7, to Phases of play and tactical needs at 9 v 9; through to team tactical development at 11 v 11. 11 v 11 focuses on advanced training ideas to teach the “team”.

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Quick continuous attacking play which is good for anaerobic fitness. Here the players are breaking one way passing to an outside player and switching positions, inside player out, outside player in then attack the other side of the zone.

Coaching Points:

  1. Technical ability on the ball in 1 v 1 situations.

  2. Quick Transition in attack - As the transition between players happens for example (3) changes with (5), the numbers team must get the ball to (4) as quickly as possible.

  3. Observe the movement of (1), (2) and (6) in terms of their support positions as the directional change takes place, they must move in anticipation to find space to help the player on the ball as the switch occurs.

  4. Observe also, as the change occurs, the positions of the defending team; has the decision been made quickly enough who presses the ball. Are the other defensive players supporting and covering and especially tracking runners off the ball. The coach must learn to look away from the ball and observe what may happen next before it happens.

  5. This session improves quick decision making, tight control because the spaces are small to play in, and thinking in advance due to the switch in direction of the play. You can also work on the defending players.

  1. Here (3) passes to (5) and (3) leaves the area. As the ball is traveling to (5), (1), (2) and (6) must get into a position to help (5) as early as possible so in theory, (5) can make a one touch pass to any or all of them. Thus (5) already has three options of a pass.

  2. Their movement is OFF THE BALL and away from their markers.

  3. Of course the defenders will move to compensate but for the sake of what I am trying to show it is easier to get the point across by showing the movements of the attacking team only.

  4. The attacking players in the actual practice may get free like this anyway if they time it correctly.

  1. The attacking players each being free to help (5) by being open for a pass.

  2. (5) May elect to run with the ball but at least three are three options available for a pass if needed.

  3. (5) May even elect to play a long pass straight to (4) on the other side of the field if the pressure from the closest defender is not fast enough. You may then ask the closest player (in this case player 2), not necessarily the passing player (5) to be the switching player instead if (5) passes it directly to (4).

  4. You could even then work on defending in this game though focus on defending totally in the session or attacking totally in the session it is better not to try to do both as it can be confusing for the players.


  1. If a player beats an opponent in a 1 v 1 situation the team gets an extra point or goal each time.

  2. Play one and two touch; reward each successful one touch pass with a goal to encourage the players to play quickly.

Competitive: Ensure you keep the score and have a finishing score to achieve as this keeps the players focused and motivated to win.