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To regain possession of the ball and counter attack

To regain possession of the ball and counter attack

  • Markers
  • 9 vests (red in illustration)
  • Balls
  • 2 regulatory goals
  • Playing area: 70 x 110 yards
  • Players: 19 (17 + 2 goal keepers)
  • Duration: 22 minutes
  • Number of series: 2 'halves' 10' each (+ passive recovery of 2')
Summary Secondary Objectives
Thematic-match on regulatory pitch - to train ball possession, ball regaining and counter attack, with a final challenge 2 vs 2
First touch, Feints and tricks, Pass, Finishing, Intercepting, 2 versus 2, 4-3-3, Preventative coverages, Restart, Once the ball is lost - Attack the ball, Pressing, Transitions

Use the entire regolatory pitch (approx. 70x 110 yards). Place, 15 yards outside one of the boxes, a horizontal line made of markers along the breadth of the pitch. Thus, we create a horizontal section (70 yards breadth x 30 yards depth) in proximity to the bottom line, with a goal, that we will call finalization-zone (yellow zone in illustration). The pitch is divided into 2 areas, a smaller one (70x30) and a larger one (70x 80). Divide the players into 2 teams (red team with 9 players and white team with 8 players, as illustrated. The red team place themselves in the larger part of the pitch, to defend the net on the opposite side, 7 players with 4-3 formation. The two red players left (strikers) place themselves in the finalization-zone. The white team arrange 6 players in the bigger playing area, with a 3-3 formation. The two white players left (defenders) place themsleves aside the goal, in the finalization-zone. The two goal keepers defend the two goals. Balls must be ready just outside the pitch, in the middle.

  • White players start with ball possession. Target: scoring goals
  • Red players defend the goal. Purpose: regain ball possession to play it for the strikers in the finalization-zone
  • Place the white team, with midfield and attack ready to play (in illustration 3-3), while the reds are raady with defence and midfield (4-3), so that the same tactical formation (4-3-3) is simulated
  • When the reds intercept the ball, they will try to pass it to their strikers in the yellow zone. For the first part of the drill, let the strikers receive the ball without immediate pressure by opponents.
  • As the2 strikers receive the ball, the 2 defenders quickly get inside the pitch, and a 2 versus 2 situation in the finalization zone starts
  • While the duel 2vs 2 is played inside the finalization zone, the white team will get a new ball and start a new attack againts the red team. It might happen that the duel inside the yellow zone is still going on. In this case, white team will have to keep ball possession, waiting untill their two strikers inside the yellow zone are free to receive the ball again


  • The two strikers inside the yellow zone ('Finalization zone') are free to receive (they will not be marked by their opponents)
  • Free ball touches for both teams
  • At the end of the first series, switch the teams, and the goal keepers
  1. Restrict the number of ball touches
  2. As the 2 strikers in the yellow zone receive the ball, one of their mates can enter the finalization-zone to back them creating a 3 vs 2 situation. When this happens, a numerical equality is set in the larger area of the picth (3 vs 3). The player who moved to back the 2 strikers in the finalization zone can not get back to the larger part of the pitch untill a goal is scored.
Coaching Points
  • Talking about the red team, it is important to encourage all aspects of transitions - scaling, diagonals, preventive coverage and team-organized pressing to regain the ball. It is important to get to close all passing lines and quickly play the ball forward, after it is regained, taking advantage of positive transition
  • The white team in numerical inferiority has to be patient to find the right hole to get to shoot on goal. Once the ball is lost, they will have to attack opponents, not giving them time and space to play the ball towards the 2 strikers, waiting for it in the finalization zone
  • Work at the 2 vs 2 situation, in all its aspects. For defenders: individual tactics and positioning. For strikers: initiative, creativity, mobility and collaboration

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