Sideways on Soccer Vertical Corridor Exercise

The following drills comes from Jeff's book, “Drills and Exercises to Develop the Elite American Soccer Player©.”

This book focuses on sessions and exercises which address the issues specific to American players. It is a book for coaches at every level but, especially, coaches of players aged U9 to U14. This is a vitally important age when players are, without even knowing it, making decisions on which sport they will choose to play. Preview


This is an exercise where the field is divided into several vertical channels. Initially none of the players may leave the channel they are in. The most important condition is that the ball CANNOT be played forward to a team mate in the same channel. The ball must be played into an adjacent channel. This simple condition guarantees angled passes and sideways on reception. No goalkeepers are used and the goals are three yards wide. The corridors are 12 yards wide and as long as the coach wishes. For positional purposes within each channel, it is wise to determine who the defending players are and who the attackers are. Although the diagram, below, illustrates playing in four corridors, it may be prudent for the coach to, initially, begin with a two corridor game so that the players can get used to the exercise. 

Coaches must make sure the forwards do not fall too deeply into their own defensive area but try and keep pushed up as much as possible. If they fall back too much the passing areas become extremely clogged and difficult to play through. When a ball goes out of bounds it can be kicked in and when a goal is scored a goal kick is taken.

sideways on soccer vertical corridor exercise

As the exercise progresses the coach will lift the rule which requires the players to stay in their corridor and allow them to go into any of the adjacent corridors – the provision being that they still, cannot pass the ball forward inside the same corridor. “Front foot” passing and toe pokes are to be encouraged.