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Supporting the player on the ball

Exercise Description:

Area: 24x24 Four 12 x 12-yard boxes with a 2x2 zone in the middle, as shown. 12 players in 4 teams of three. The coach has all the balls. The three oranges are positioned in one 12x12 area, while the blues are defenders in the 2x2. The rest of the players are spread out in the other three zones.
1. The coach passes the ball to the orange team. One blue player enters that playing area.
2. The orange team keeps possession for 3 or more passes and then passes the ball to any player in another area. The pass is made to a yellow player. All yellows move in to support their teammate.
3. The other nonyellow players in that area (red) and the rest of the red and orange move and occupy other zones.
4. The next blue defender cannot move in to defend until the receiving player touches the ball. If a blue wins ball, can they dribble outside the playing area?

Coaching points: Body shape. 1-2 touch mentality. Quality of pass. Understand where to place the pass. Quick movement into space to support. Triangulate. Communication. In decision-making, think ahead.

Intended outcome:

  • To use an engaging, fun activity that makes the player support the person with the ball.

  • The supporting players will need quick reactions.

  • Players need to anticipate where the ball is being played and start moving to support the receiving player before the ball is passed.

  • Instill work ethic, communication, support angles, and a 1-2 touch playing mentality.


Can play with 16 or 20 players. You would then allow two defenders to win the ball back.

Possible Performance Problems:

Players do not anticipate where the ball is being played or react slowly. This does not give them time to support the player on the ball because the defender has already got to the defender.

The pass into the next area is made to the player closest to the defenders. Can the pass be made to the player furthest away?

Be ready to focus - Make decisions

Keep scanning the area and visualize playing in a game.

Accept mistakes - Find solutions

Coach your teammates


Applaud good play

Be ready to compete

Work at game speed

Defenders make the tackle

Move to support

Angles of support - Triangulate

Scan the area

1-2 touch mentality

Anticipate - See the future

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