3rd player runs

Exercise description: 45x20

Area: The possession practice begins 3v3 +2 in the first zone, with a 2v2 +2 in the furthest zone and no player in the middle zone. +4 are blue.

1. The orange team looks to maintain possession to create space for a pass into the neutral blue player in the far zone, who sets to a neutral player in the middle zone before playing the ball across. One player for the orange team will make a third-player run and the blue player will pass them the ball. One green player chases, creating another 3v3 +2 in the far zone.

2. Above shows the neutral blue player executing a pass into space for the third-player run from orange. The orange player is chased by a green. The orange player passes the ball to a teammate or blue before entering the zone.

3. To score, the team in possession must successfully transfer the ball from one side to the other, linking play in the middle zone. When possession is recovered by the defending green team, they must connect three passes before trying to play to the opposite side. A new ball will begin with the opposite team on the other side of the ball is played out of bounds.

Coaching points: Triangulate, body shape, 1-2 touch mentality, scan the area. Timing of runs, communication, decision making.

Intended outcome:

  • To help the players visualize movement off the ball.

  • If a player is open, the ball may need to be passed to someone else to get that player the ball.

  • Increase confidence when in possession.

  • Teach transitions

  • Improve communication and team play

  • Improve technical ability in game situations.


Take out the passing limit. The blue target players in the central zone can be found anytime.

Technical / Tactical:

  • 1-2 touch mentality

  • Visualize - See the game

  • Communication

  • Quality passing

  • First touch

  • Body shape - receive the ball on the back foot

  • Timing of your run and pass


  • 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 move

  • Always work at game speed

  • Be ready to explode into space for the third player-run

  • Be ready on the balls of your feet

  • Shield the ball


  • Be ready to focus

  • Embrace failure.

  • Remember the combinations of the exercise and who is the best player to make the run.

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

  • Anticipate

Possible Performance Problems:

You may get two players making the third player run. The blue player then decides who is the best option.

The two central blue players are in a line and blocking the path of the ball to the one behind. Make sure they are staggered.

Lots of opportunities to play the forward pass are missed.

Inside players in possession forget that the neutral player is on their team and they stand next to each other.