Attacking and counter-attacking

Football Practice: Attacking and Counter-Attacking

This football practice can help your team develop attacking and counter-attacking.

It’s great for kids and younger players, but can be used an adapted for players at all levels.


  • Area 40x20yds, with two zones marked 10yds into each end.
  • Two small goals at one end, to serve as targets and one normal goal, set back 5yds behind opposite end line, defended by GK, as illustrated.
  • 17 players (incl. GK) divided into two teams of eight (Reds / Blues).
  • Players in each team work in pairs.
  • All balls with Blues.
  • Practice starts with: Blues serve ball forward to Reds, who send-out two players to receive and attack goal.
  • Blues send-out one player (A) to make 1v2.
  • Reds objective is to get ball into Blues end zone and shoot at goal.
  • If Blue Defender wins ball: a second Blue (B) takes a ball and attacks either of the two goals at opposite end to score.
  • Two Reds become recovering Ds attempt to stop this. Reverse roles of team after suitable period of practice.

Practice Detail

  • Make sure organisation and pattern of the practice is fully understood by the players.
  • For very young players: this may mean going through it with ball in hands first.
  • Practice can be operated from an attacking or a defending perspective.
  • Emphasise need to think about space and time and how this affects decision-making.
  • Monitor physical load on the GK.
  • Simple progressions for this practice are:
  • If Blue Defender (A) wins ball in middle area: Second Blue (B) can support to make 2v2 and attack small goals to score.
  • If Blue D delays long enough (decided by the coach): Second Blue (B) can join in to create 2v2.
  • Reds send out three As and Blues send out two Ds to create 3v2, with normal rules applying.

Coaching Points

  • 1v1 skills and individual attacking techniques.
  • Creating 2v1 passing opportunities with individual techniques.
  • Isolating individual D and making through pass to attack goal.
  • Shooting to score on the move, versus GK.
  • Individual defending in 1v1 & 1v2 situations.
  • Use of pitch perimeter to trap Attacker and deny pass to supporting player.
  • Delaying and denying space to pass behind. Recovering and blocking possible shots