Training Playbook


Training Playbook

All field sizes should be adjusted based on age, ability and the number of players training



  1. 20x20 grid with all players dribbling the ball – on direction perform:
    • Inside cut; outside cut; all right foot; all left foot; pullback; change of direction; burst of speed, outside of feet only, insteps only
    • Make a move on an outside cone then accelerate 5 yards outside the grid
    • Incorporate sharks and minnows (so 1 or 2 defenders that need to kick the ball outside the grid)
    • Incorporate knockout where players need to kick other players ball outside the grid while possessing their own
    • Incorporate musical chairs where 1 or 2 players without a ball need to steal someone else’s…upon having your ball stolen you need to steal from anyone but the person that took yours.
  2. 2 cones about 15 yards apart.  2 players line up on one side with a ball and one player on the other cone.  Player 1 dribbles to the other cone and leaves the ball for Player 2 who dribbles back to the original cone and leaves the ball for player 3.  Provide direction such as right foot only, left foot only, etc…
    • Advanced to following the same movement only now pass the ball between the cones instead of dribbling.  Try to limit touches to 2 – then advance to receive with one foot and provide return pass with the other – then advance to all 1 touch passing.  Emphasize moving quickly to the other cone after passing the ball.
  3. 3 cones with 12 yards between then.  2 players on an end cone with a ball – 1 player on the middle cone, one player on the other end cone.  Player 1 passes to player 2 who controls and turns with the ball and plays it to Player 3 on the other end cone.  All players follow their pass to the next cone.  Focus on clean and controlled turns – proper footwork when turning.
    • Advance to the end player providing direction to turn or trail the ball back to them.  Allow only 1 trail pass then on the second pass the player turns.  Again follow pass to the next cone (unless a trail is called then remain at current cone until turn is executed).  Focus on clear communication between the players and footwork on both turn and trail.  Build to only 1 touch passes from the end cones to the middle.
  4. 4 cones in a 20x20 square.  For younger players add a second square outside the first roughly 25 by 25 to create passing channels outside the 20x20 square and inside the 25x25 square.  Align players on the outside square on the corners.  At least 5 players needed with one on each corner and 2 on the corner with the ball.  Dribble the ball with outside foot to the next corner (using the right foot when going counter clockwise so it is the outside foot then the left foot going clockwise so it is again the outside foot.  Focus on clean hand offs between the players and taking your first touch in the direction you want to go.
    • Advance to pass the ball through the outside channels using the right foot when going counter clockwise (so it is the outside foot) then the left foot going clockwise (so it is again the outside foot).  Focus on opening the body when receiving the ball to be able to play the 2nd touch pass to the next player and playing clean firm passes.  Follow pass to the next corner.
    • Advance to checking 3 yards towards the center when the  ball is on the opposite side of the square and then backing out just before the ball is passed to the player to receive the ball while moving away from the center.  Focus on proper footwork and opening up to pass on next touch.
    • Advance to a give and go scenario so Player 1 passes the ball down the channel, Player 2 returns the ball to Player 1 who then plays a diagonal ball through the inside square to Player 2.  Player 2 repeats with Player 3.  Focus on clean passing, control the ball when needed but the objective is to build to all 1 touch passing.
    • Advance in all permutations of this to multiple balls running simultaneously (at least 2, in some cases with more than 5 players in the drill and when only focused on channel passing/dribbling to 4 balls).
  5. 4 cones in a 20x20 square.  2 balls will be used starting on the same side – 2 players on the cones with a ball and 1 player on the other 2 cones.  Pass the ball the same direction and proceed to the cone you passed to.  The players on the other side upon receiving the ball dribble diagonal back to the opposite cone the ball they have started on.  Repeat the same movement.  After passing introduce dynamic stretching movement – sprints forward and sideways – etc.  When dribbling set directions such as left foot only, right foot only, etc.
  6. 5 cones in a diamond with one cone in the middle.   2 players on two outside cones directly across from one another with a ball.  1 player on each other cone.  Players with a ball simultaneously dribble to the center cone then cut to the left upon passing the middle cones (inside right foot cut).  Immediate burst to the cone that was originally to their left and leave the ball for the next player.  Players should focus on arriving at the middle cone at the same time as the person on the other side.  Communication both verbal and visual should be emphasized.
    • Advance to left turn with outside of left foot
    • Advance to right turn with inside of left foot
    • Advance to right turn with outside of right foot


  1. Shadow Dribbling:  Players in pairs and both players have a ball.  Create two 5 yard lateral spaces with 2 cones for each player wherein they are facing one another.  One player is the primary and one is the shadow.  Primary player should move in small increments to the left, right, forward and backward with the ball.  The shadow must move in the same manner.  Focus on keeping the players heads up so they know what to replicate and focus on good footwork from the primary player.
    • Advanced to exact replication – this will not be achieved by the shadow but that’s not the point!!!  Focus on the primary being creative with the ball and the shadow trying to keep up
  2. 1v1 Penetration:  Players in pairs with a 5 yard wide line between two cones.  Starting around 7 yards from the line Player 1 must attempt to cross the line with the ball by getting past player 2. 
    • Offensive focus is lateral movement to create forward progression
    • Defensive focus is to contain and protect the ‘danger’ area and avoid attempting to recover the ball unless there is a threat to the ‘danger’ area.
  3. 1v1 – 2v2 Penetration:   2 small goals set up around 20 yards apart.  2 lines of players – one line in front of each goal – lines start 25 yards out from the goals.  Player 1 starts on defense and Player 2 attacks from line 1 attempting to score on either goal.  Upon scoring, or losing possession, Player 2 becomes the defender and the attack begin from line 2 (Player 3).  Upon Player 3 scoring or losing possession Player 3 becomes the defender and attack starts from line 1.  Return to the opposite line you started at after defending.
    • Advance to the same concept only with 2 attackers starting from the same line and both attackers then become defenders.
  4. Finishing:  3 players on outside flank (2 participating at a time).  Player 1 starts on the point of the box and checks to the ball – Player 2 passes the ball to Player 1 and makes a run down the line to receive the ball back (give and go) then plays a cross on 1 or 2 touches.  Focus on a  quality service rather than the touches.  The remaining players attack the goal, 3 at a time, to finish the cross ideally on the first touch.  Rotate players through and make this a continuous exercise.  Address coaching points 1v1 rather than disrupting the flow.  Target 2 or 3 crosses per minute.
  5. Finishing:  Teams of 2 players.  Pick a team and they start in goal.  The first attacking team has Player 1 dribble to the shooting line (that the coach creates with 2 cones) and leaves the ball for Player 2 to shoot.  Player 2 shoots.  After shooting the 2nd team becomes the goal keepers – the 3rd team can begin to attack at the point of a save, goal or the ball crossing the end line – the team in goal goes back in line to shoot.  Continue the process through the remaining teams.  If a team does not score, and then gets scored on, they are out.  Play until 1 team remains.
  6. 1v1 Close and Contain:  Create a 15x10 grid.  Players are in 2 teams starting on the same sideline at midfield.  Upon the coach putting the ball in play 1 player from each team goes from midfield around the corner cone and then onto the field to play 1v1.  Objective offensively is to possess the ball to the opposite end line from where they entered the field.  Coaching point however is to defensive focusing on closing on the ball to possess and if you can’t possess containing (not reaching) to avoid being beat.


  1. 3v3 throw, touch, catch:  Teams of 3 and the objective is for Player 1 to throw the ball to Player 2 who must volley it to Player 3 without the ball touching the ground.  Point scored for each successful combination.  Keep possession upon success – change of possession for unsuccessful combination.  Focus on movement to open space and visualizing more than just the immediate pass. 
    • Advance with older players to only head balls, or head balls count as 2 points
  2. 20X20 field.  Divide players into two teams.  Place 1 player from each team along each sideline/endline so 8 total players on the outside of the grid.  Play 2v2 or 3v3 in the middle of the grid scoring a point for each successful pass to a teammate on the outside and 2 points for each successful pass to teammate in the grid.  Focus on creating space in a tight area and possession to find opportunity (aka. the inside grid pass).
    1. Advance to upon passing to a teammate on the outside that teammate comes onto the field and the person that passed to the outside replaces them.  Focus on the player on the outside knowing the next move before receiving the ball.
    2. Have fun and upon passing to a teammate on the outside that teammate comes onto the field and the passing player remains on the field as well.  See which team can get all players in the grid.  Coaching point as the numbers up scenario grows is to know where the threat is and defend it (ie. only 1 player remains outside so defend against that player).



  1. Offensive Keep Away:  40x25 with a clear midfield.  Play 4v4 or 5v5 or expand field for greater team sizes.  Objective is to complete as many passes, in your offensive half of the field, as possible.   Focus on the balance between supporting the ball and positioning for the second and third pass – not just the first.  Define a number of passes that equal a goal…so 5 consecutive passes in offensive half is a point.  MIDFIELD BUILD UP
  2. Transition:  4v4 in the box with 2 neutrals always on offense.  Must complete 3 passes before going to goal.  Upon change of possession the recovering team immediately goes to offense and the team losing possession to defense.  Focus on immediate ball pressure (counter attack defending) and immediate offensive transition.
  3. Attack Wide - 40x25 yard field with 4 goals located on the sidelines where the sideline meets the end line.  Play 4v4 or 5v5 (adjust field size for number of players and ability) and each team has an offensive half where they are attacking at either goal at the end of the sideline.  Coaching emphasis on when to possess and when to attack to create opportunities – encourage entering into 1v1 situations.
  4. Attack Wide – 40x25 yard field.  6v6 and each team has one player on each sideline (so 4v4 on the playing field to start).  In order to attack the team must play the ball to one of their teammate on the sideline who upon receiving the ball comes onto the field to join the attack in a 5v4 scenario).  The players on the sideline can go end line to end line to support play.  The team can play the ball to their teammates on both sidelines to create a 6v4 attack. Upon losing possession that player returns to the sideline.  Coaching points are playing wide to safety on defense and then midfield buildup with possession in numbers up situations.
  5. Counter Attacking Defending – 40 x 30 field with full goal.  1 player for each team on the outside sidelines (so 4 players / 2 on each sideline consisting of 1 from each team) and 4v4 on the field.  Offensive team is trying to score and in order to change from defense to offense the defensive team needs to recover the ball and play their teammate on the outside of the field.  That teammate then enters the field of play and offense and defense switches.  Focus on immediate pressure on the outside player when possession changes, defending the greatest threat and playing wide for safety. 
    1. Advance by moving the sideline players to the top of the grid (so just beyond the top of the box).  Upon recovering the ball and playing the teammate outside the top of the grid both teammates now enter the field of play.  Again focus on immediate ball pressure but also containing those players to allow for your teammates to identify and cover the most dangerous opportunities.