Testing Players Awareness

The following drill comes from Best of Soccer Awareness. This 80 page eBook contains 24 of the best sessions from UEFA Professional “A" License Coach Wayne Harrison's Soccer Awareness method.

To develop the Soccer Awareness concept its important to take the process from structured training sessions into free flowing game situational set ups so the players are developing their thinking skills under pressure.  We offer various game situational small sided situations here to test this.  We hope you enjoy this eBook.

This book is also available as part of the Premium and Elite Plans in the Soccer Awareness Training Center. Find Out More


Coaches are trying to develop the concept of the player recognizing options before receiving the ball. This exercise is a very simple idea and tests the players to see if they looked over their shoulder away from the ball or not before they receive the pass.

The opposite outside player from the ball can decide to close down the middle player or stay away (in this case player 3). If they close down then the middle player must pass the ball back to the player who passed it to them, player 2. If not closed down then they receive and turn and pass to player 3 (below).

Coaching Points:

  1. Look over shoulder before receiving (where you are passing to).
  2. Body Stance – half turned (can see behind).
  3. Support at an angle.
  4. Save a touch – let weight of ball determine this- let it run across the body and move one touch.
  5. Develop - Opposite player stays or closes the middle player down.
  6. If closed down, middle player passes back to same.
  7. If not closed the middle player turns and passes to opposite player.

Go through each progression in the order it is presented here, do one at a time and have each player practice it in the middle at every stage of the progressions.

If the player in the middle (2) turns and looks to pass to player 3 when player 3 has closed them down; this is an indication that player 2 in the middle did not look before receiving, to see where player 3 was. This will likely happen with some players. 

Initially and before we set the conditions players will pass from 1 to 2 to 3 and not always look behind them before receiving, after making the reference to this and changing the idea having players close or not close down, you will see the middle player looking over their shoulder as the ball is being passed to them to see if they are closed down or not. 

The difference is obvious when you put the conditions in and is a great help in developing awareness in players.