Balance the Squares Small-Sided Group Attacking Drill

The following comes from Don Herlan (Smedley). Much more like this can be found from Smedley on his site at


Play begins with a 3 v 1 in one square and 1 v 1’s in the other three squares. After five passes, the attackers change the ball into an adjacent square (to Player A in the diagram) and then rotate two players into that square (Players B and C), re-forming the 3 v 1. As the 3 v 1 re-forms, attackers rotate into the empty squares to re-form the 1 v 1’s (Players D and E). The defenders must stay inside of their squares until they win the ball, then all four can move into one square to play 4 v 3. When the attackers regain possession, the defenders return to their squares.

balance the squares.png

Coaching Points:

  1. Timing the Runs - Hold the run until the attackers are ready to change the ball over.
  2. Speed of Play - Play one and two touch soccer and force the defenders to chase.
  3. Decision Making – Anticipate play and begin the rotations in advance of the pass.


Progression 1 - Allow passes into all three squares.
Regression 1 - Allow attackers to dribble into an adjacent zone after five passes.