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Finding the open player

Exercise description: 

Area: 15x15 with a 5x5 square in the middle. Four players are used. Two of the outside players have a ball.
1.The central player receives a pass from an outside player. Prior to doing so, they must have identified the ‘spare player’. On receiving the ball, the middle player takes a touch before playing to the open player.

2. The player in the middle is to now identify the position of the second ball, call for a pass to be made, receive it and then play to the new ‘spare player’, as shown above. The player now varies their passes, one-touch and spin, back foot, outside of the front foot, etc.

3. Switch the central player.

Coaching points: Players are on the balls of their feet ready to pass or receive the ball.

The middle player sees the future. They know where they are going next.

The body shape of the central player.

Receiving the ball on the back foot.


Intended outcome:

  • To improve ball control and passing technique.

  • This exercise helps the players understand scanning the field, quick play and stresses the importance of thinking ahead, 'seeing the future.'

  • Instill confidence in the players. You want your players to be brave and want the ball.

  • Soft first touch is needed

  • Improve communication


As you see in the animation, an outside player can move to a spare cone, if available. This encourages the middle player to scan the area.

Possible Performance Problems:

Players will not be on the balls of their feet ready to play.

The body shape of the central player

The central player will not think ahead.


Body shape, soft first touch

Accurate passing with correct weight

Scan the playing area for open player

Be ready to focus

Keep scanning the area and visualize playing in a game.

Accept mistakes

Coach your teammates


Applaud good play

Ready to pass or receive the ball


Be willing to move

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