Coaching Session #014 : Counter Attacking U12-U16

Primary Aims & Objectives

This coaching session gives player lots of opportunities to experiment in overloaded situations. Players will develop strategies to isolate defenders and beat them with clever dribbling and passing combinations.

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Arrival Activity

2v1 Passing Moving Warmup DrillOrganisation

Split a large square into four quarters.

Play 2v1 in each area.

If a defender wins the ball they, and all their teammates, swap places with the dispossessed team.

If you have uneven numbers play 2v2 or 3v2 in some areas.


Move players in to areas where they will have a good mix of success and struggle.

Move central cones to make areas different sizes and shapes. Restrict space for strong players and give more time to struggling players.

3v3 Counter Attacking Game

3v3 3v2 2v1 Passing Moving GameOrganisation

Split the area into two long narrow pitches. Place small goals on each end-line.

Play 3v3 on each pitch.

Teams must always have at least 1 player in each half.

If a player gives away the ball they must run around their opponent’s goal before they can re-enter the play.

Play offside.


If needed, give players more overload time by increasing the distance or complexity of the player’s run.

Make it more challenging by moving the sidelines in and reducing the space available.

Make one pitch 2v2 and the other pitch 4v4. You might also move the cones to make uneven pitches.

If you have uneven numbers you can introduce a floating attacker who can move across both pitches to create overloads for the attacking team.

To progress the practice you might combine the pitches and play 6v6 to two goals.

6v6 Overload Game

6v6 Overload Passing Moving GameOrganisation

Remove the cones from the middle and add large goals to the end-lines.

Play 6v6 with goalkeepers.

Play offside.


Add obstacles or challenges behind each goal,for example add a slalom or hurdles and some small goals.

If a player is dispossessed or puts the ball out of play (except to score) they must complete the challenge before re-entering the pitch.

Keep the challenges fun and don’t be too strict on a perfect completion. The focus of the game should remain creating and taking advantage of overloads.


Give players a loose formation to work within.

Position stronger players in more congested of the pitch where they will have to make quicker decisions.

Encourage less confident players to use the space in wide areas to create overloads.

Develop Your Environment

Keep practices competitive from the start of your session to encourage players to arrive on time.

Making practices challenging will also encourage players to work at a realistic intensity.

Develop Your Practice

When a key outcome of the session is decision-making it is best to keep the early practices simple. This allows players to concentrate on the football decisions and not worry about the layout or rules.

You can increase complexity later to challenge players.

Develop Your Players

In 2v1 situations there aren’t any ideal or incorrect techniques or strategies.

In fact variety and creativity are key, as smart defenders will still win the ball if the attackers are predictable.


Technical Outcomes

Execute a range of 2v1 strategies effectively.

Use overlaps, wall passes and crossovers to beat isolated defenders.
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Physical Outcomes

Be quick to create and exploit overload situations.

Make strong recovery runs to reduce risk of overloads.
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Psychological Outcomes

Identify overload opportunities anywhere on the field.

Make decisions quickly to take advantage of overloads.
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Communicate strategies to teammates clearly.

Be creative and share ideas with teammates.

[button style="download" color="silver" link=""]Download Session Plan[/button]

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One thought on “Coaching Session #014 : Counter Attacking U12-U16

  1. good training for young soccer players

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