Four square

Objective: To improve quick passing and providing support off the ball.

Age group: U8s and upwards.

Number of players: Twelve (but can easily be adapted for more or fewer players)

Equipment required: Training vests to differentiate the teams, some flat cones to mark the playing area, a few balls.

Set-up: Divide a 40×40 yards playing area into four 20×20 squares.

Split your players up into four teams of three, wearing training vests.

How to play:

  • Two teams play 3v3 in diagonally opposite squares. Their objective is to score a point by stopping the ball on their opponent’s end line.
  • Play first to five, then rotate the teams around the playing area.

Coaching tips: If your players are finding the game difficult, make the playing area bigger.

If they are finding it easy, make the area smaller.

Variations:

  • Move the players between teams so that you have two 4v2 games instead of 3v3.
  • Make small goals on the end lines with flat cones. Players earn one point for their team by scoring a goal or two points for stopping the ball on the end line.

Progression: Take away the centre lines of the playing area and place two goals on each end line. Play 6v6 in the 40×40 playing area.

Teaching point: If, as is likely, your players seem rushed and make many mistakes at the beginning of this game, talk about how to get more time on the ball.

Try to get them to tell you that they need to be more aware of who is around them before they receive a pass.

Ask your players how this can be achieved.

Tip: Encourage your players to check over their shoulder as the ball is arriving at their feet and try not to give all their attention to receiving the pass.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.