Side supports

Objective: To improve possession play and to use the full width of the pitch.

Age groups: U10s and upwards (but can be used with better-than-average younger players).

Set up: Use a 60×40 yards playing area with normal-sized goals on the end lines. Divide your squad into three equally matched teams, wearing bibs.

How to play: Two teams play “normal” football. The third team acts as side supports. Players of the third team spread along both side lines and can receive passes from the teams on the pitch. When they do receive a pass, they cannot be tackled and must pass back to the team that passed them the ball. They should move up and down the line, calling for the ball if the player in possession is running out of options.

You can encourage wall passes by restricting side supports to one touch.

Switch the teams around regularly or play “one goal, winner stays on”.

Progressions

  • Side support players must return passes in less than four seconds.
  • Restrict players on the pitch to two or three touches.
  • Goals only count if the move that leads up to them includes a pass to a side support player

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