Coaching Using Small-Sided Games: Attacking

The following training session comes from 2013 Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic Featured Presenter, Simon Nee, from the New York Red Bulls Academy.


Principles of Play: 3v3 to 4v4 small-sided (Stage III) - Attacking - Support, Mobility, Width, Depth and Penetration

Objectives: 3v3 - End Zones

  • 30 x 30 yard area
  • 3 v 3
  • Objective is to score by dribbling or combining into your opponents end zone
  • Game restarts by dribbling or passing the ball back into the area

Coaching Points:

  1. Attack quickly to create numbers up when possible
  2. 1st attacker to penetrate with dribble or pass
  3. 2nd attacker to support
  4. 3rd attacker to provide depth
  5. Use of combination to penetrate
  6. Runs away from the ball to create 1v1 situation

Objectives: 3 v 3 - Xavi and Messi Rules

  • 30 x 30 yard area
  • 3 v 3 with GKs
  • Objective is to score in your opponents goal
  • Game always restarts from the GK
  • 1 team resting
  • 3 minute games
  • Xavi and Messi Rules apply: Players are not permitted to pass until they have attempted to beat the defender or make the ball free to pass (turned out of pressure)
  • Resting teams are assigned a player to evaluate
    • How many Messi's (dribbles)?
    • How many Xavi's (turns)?

Progression: Lift conditioned after a set time interval

Regression: Add +1 for players to combine with

Coaching Points:

  1. Coaching the mindset of the player to penetrate with a dribble
  2. Player should play in three lines (team shape - depth in attack)
  3. Mobility of players to maintain team shape

Objectives: 4 v 4 - Width & Depth

  • 40 x 30 yard area
  • 4 v 4 with GKs
  • Objective is to score in opponents goal
  • Restriction line to create 3 v 1 in defending teams half on restarts from the goalkeeper to allow attacking team to build and play out

Progression: Remove restriction line when shape is established

Coaching Points:

  1. Create width in attack to help build play from the back and open a passing channel to the forward
  2. Look to penetrate to forward player
  3. Mobility to support the ball and maintain possession
  4. Team shape as the ball moves
  5. Function of each player within the team shape