5v2+GK Possession Game

  • Author: Ian Knapp
  • Age Group: U9 to U17+
  • Time: 20 minutes

This possession game is one of my absolute favourites. It involves 7 outfield players and a goalkeeper and is a great way to teach your players about moving the ball quickly to create an opening whilst also being patient in possession. It's also great because it keeps your goalkeeper involved in the session in a relevant way and like all possession exercises, helps your players with their first touch, decision making, communication, passing skills and movement off the ball.

  • Approximately 20 x 20 yard circle or square of cones (adapt for age / ability), with a triangle of cones in the middle spaced 3-4 yards apart to make 3 small "goals".
  • Goalkeeper in the triangle
  • 5 "attackers" (blue below) scattered around the main square (not allowed in the goalkeeper's triangle)
  • 2 "defenders" (pink below) trying to win the ball back (are allowed across the triangle)
  • Coach with several footballs to the side

Basic Rules:

  • The 5 "attackers" keep possession of the ball with the ultimate aim of trying to score a goal by passing through the triangle of cones to a team mate on the other side. If they score they get a point. If a team mate does not control the ball after the goal is scored, it doesn't count.
  • The goalkeeper tries to stop the ball going through any of the 3 "goals" made by the triangle of cones. If the goalkeeper saves the ball the defending team (GK + 2 defenders) get a point. If the goalkeeper catches the ball, he / she distributes to one of the defenders and they try to keep possession for 3 passes (1 point).
  • The defenders try to win the ball back. If they do, they try to keep possession between themselves and the goalkeeper (feet) for 3 passes. If they do this, they get 1 point.
  • Play for 3 minutes or until one team gets to 5 points and then switch the 2 defenders with 2 of the attackers.
  • Coach sends new ball in every time the ball goes off.
  • Progressions to add challenge can involve playing with a limited number of touches, changing from 5 vs 2 to 4 vs 3 or decreasing the area.
  • Make it easier by expanding the area or increasing the attacking numbers to a 6 vs 1 or with no defenders at all.
  • Can run the same exercise with no goalkeeper, just defenders.
Key Coaching Points / Challenges:

For attackers:

  • Can you move the ball quickly in one or two touches to create an opportunity?
  • Can you be patient and only try and score when there is a good chance you will be successful (otherwise the goalkeeper saves or the defender blocks and the opposition get a point)
  • Can you communicate to the player with the ball what they should do with it?
  • Once you've played a pass, can you move to be an option for a return pass / support the player with the ball.

For defenders:

  • Can you work as a team - one presses the ball, one blocks off the most obvious passing option?
  • Can your body shape force the attacker to play where you want them to?

For goalkeeper:

  • Be on the balls of your feet so you can move quickly depending on where the ball is.
  • If you've made a save but not caught the ball, can you be up quickly for the follow up save?
  • Can you distribute quickly if you make a save so your team can complete the three passes and score an extra point?

Coaching Points (FA's 4 Corners):
  • Receiving the ball onto the back foot.
  • Passing to the correct foot of the receiving player.
  • Weight of pass
  • First touch
  • Speed of play (one touch then pass quickly)
  • Movement off the ball
  • Defensive shape (one presses ball, one covers)
  • Goalkeeping technique / shot stopping
  • Communication (tell the player on the ball what to do with it)
  • Patience
  • Knowing what you want to do with the ball before it arrives with you
  • Decision making - when to pass, who to pass to, when to "shoot"
  • Adapt to coach constantly sending a new ball in (be "on your toes")
  • Speed of play
  • Body shape
  • Strength to hold off defenders or make a tackle
  • Goalkeeper reaction speed
  • Working as a team
  • Encouraging others and not being negative
  • Communication
  • Have fun!