Off the ball movement

Exercise description:

Area: 30x20 with two groups at opposite ends and two players back to back in the middle. One ball starts at each group.

1. Option #1 – The middle player ‘checks’ for the ball. The player passes the ball to the middle player and then overlaps the mannequin. The middle player receives the ball on the back foot and passes it to the overlapping player.

2. The overlapping player now plays a diagonal pass to the next player in the opposite group and follows the pass. The passing sequence continues.

3. Switch the middle players.

Option #2 Variation: Place a player in the gate at each end-line. The ball is played to the middle player who then plays it long to the far player that is stood between the cones. That player now plays the ball to the overlapping player, who now passes the ball diagonally. The player in the gate moves to the starting position and is replaced by the player that passed the ball.

Work both sides of the area.

Coaching points: Quality of pass, accuracy, weight, timing. Speed of movement off the ball. Communication. Body shape and first touch.

Intended outcome:

  • To encourage movement off the ball.

  • Improve timing of passes and runs.

  • Receiving the ball when moving will help in-game situations.

  • Improve technical ability


You could add a goalkeeper at each end and turn it into a shooting session.

Technical / Tactical:

  • Quality of the pass - Accuracy, weight, and timing.

  • First touch

  • Body shape

  • Movement

  • Communication


  • Be ready to interact with teammates.

  • Communicate.

  • Applaud good play and work ethic from teammates.

  • Offer help if you understand the exercise

  • Have fun!


  • Be willing to compete

  • Explode into space

  • React quickly

  • Be willing to move when checking to the ball


  • Be ready to focus

  • Embrace failure.

  • Remember the instructions of the exercise. 

  • Decision-making can only happen if we are open to finding answers.

  • Be confident when playing your pass

Possible Performance Problems:

Players in the middle do not check to the ball and receive the ball on the back foot.

The pass into space for the running player is of poor quality. The timing is off or the accuracy, weight is wrong.

The diagonal ball to the next starting player is played behind them and not in front.