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  • To progress the possession games (Carl's Keep Away, 4 v 1 and Keep Away Tennis).

  • further develop the importance of moving and taking up good supporting positions.


  • To keep the ball for the longest time; for the defenders to win the ball or force errors as quickly as possible.


  • Mark two or three 10 - 12 yards squares.

  • With 9 players have three groups of three; with 12 players have four groups of 3 players.

  • With odd numbers improvise with the numbers; for instance, with 10, two groups of three and one of four (still play 3 vs. 1, but use a sub system with the 4).

  • Use pinnies to distinguish the groups.

  • 3 vs. 1 in each of the squares.

  • Spare defenders can change "on the fly."

  • Coach times each period of one minute. At the end of the period, the team of three that achieved the least number of consecutive passes become the defenders.

  • When the defender wins the ball or forces the ball to be played out of the area the team of three restarts with another ball.

  • The coach keeps a supply of balls handy so after an interception or a ball is kicked out of play he/she can kick or roll another ball in.

  • If you have an assistant or co-coach, each takes one of the squares.



  • 3 vs. 1 is much more difficult than 4 vs. 1. In 4 vs. 1 the four attackers can just take a corner each and so give good support.

  • In 3 vs. 1 the two players "off-the-ball" have to move and work hard to open up a good passing angle for the player with the ball.

  • The player with the ball may have to screen the ball away from the defender while awaiting a better supporting angle from a team-mate.

  • All attackers need to communicate - particularly the two players "off-the-ball" ("Hold it!" "Wait!" "I'm here!") -- as they become the "eyes" of the player with the ball.

  • Coach must assess whether the playing area is too big or too small and make adjustments if necessary.

  • If it is too difficult consider reverting back to 4 vs. 1.

  • For the first few minutes allow the players to play in a non-competitive way so that when a mistake is made, the coach can recreate the situation and then ask the player who made the mistake what the alternatives are. If they can see what should be done or how their team-mates could have helped they will learn more quickly to do it when the ball is in play.

  • After a few minutes go into the one-minute stopwatch competition described above without any interventions by the coach other than putting the ball back in play.


  • If they are having trouble maintaining possession, make the area bigger or go back to 4 v 1.

  • The 3 v 1 is progressed to 3 v 1 Tennis.

  • If they can handle the 3 v 1 Tennis, allow one of the defending players to go into the square where the ball is being received to make it more difficult to make a successful pass across the No-Man’s Land.

  • Or, have one of the defending team in the No-Man’s Land trying to intercept the ball across the squares.

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