From 1 vs 1 to 3 vs 3 with cognitive and coordinating basics | YouCoach Skip to main content

From 1 vs 1 to 3 vs 3 with cognitive and coordinating basics

From 1 vs 1 to 3 vs 3 with cognitive and coordinating basics

  • 2 cones
  • 4 hurdles
  • 2 small goals (or 4 poles)
  • 1 goal
  • 3 vests
  • 3 balls (for each series)
  • Playing area: 40x50 meters
  • Players: 6 + 1 goalkeeper
  • Duration: 25 minutes
  • Series: 3 series for each group of 6 players
Summary Secondary Objectives
Situational exercise with cognitive and coordinating basics to train several tactical situations and shooting
Vertical jump, Crawl, Coordination skills, Cognitive, Losing your marker, Pass, Finishing, Marking, Goal defense, Pass and move, Zone defensive, 1 versus 1, 2 versus 2, 3 versus 3

Form two small circuits consisting of a starting cone and 2 hurdles, about 40 meters distant from the goal, and about 2 meters spaced. Place 2 small goals on the box line facing the goal and form a playing area inside the box about 25 meters wide using the markers (see figure). Divide players into 2 teams of 3 players each using the vests and arrange them forming 2 mixed lines (one player wearing the vest and one player without alternating) behind the starting cones. The coach stays between the circuits near the last hurdles while the goalkeeper defends the goal. Place a ball at the centre on the box line.


On coach starting signal, the first 2 players start moving to face the hurdles.

Players can jump to cross the hurdle or pass under according to coach directions:

  • If he put his arms up, they have to jump
  • If he keeps down the arms, they have to pass under

After overtaking the hurdles, players run to gain the ball on the box line. The player who gains the ball becomes striker with the aim of shoot at goal, while the other player bcomes defender.

If goalkeeper saves the shot, he can play 2 vs 1 together with the defender with the aim of score into one small goal. The game continues until a goal scored (in the regulatory goal or small goal) or ball out. At the end of the action, the coach places another ball on the box line and makes start a new action. The following players perform the exercise in the same way except that after gaining the ball, they play 2 vs 2 with players previously remained inside the box. Last players of each line, perform the exercise in the same way and after gaining the ball they play 3 vs 3.

After each series, players swap positions in the lines (first, second, third).  


  1. A and B, see the coach arms up and jump the hurdles moving to A1 and B1
  2. A gains the ball becoming striker while B becomes defender trying to block the shot
  3. A in A2 shoots at goal scoring



  1. C and D see the coach arms down and pass under the hurdles moving to C1 and D1
  2. D gains the ball becoming striker (together with B) in D2 and shoots at goal while C becomes defender ( together with A) in C2
  3. Goalkeeper saves the shot and the ball goes to A
  4. A passes the ball to C
  5. C scores into the small goal



  1. E and F see the coach arms down and pass under the hurdles moving to E1 and F1
  2. F gains the ball becoming striker (together with B and D) in F2 while E becomes defender (together with A and C) in E2
  3. F passes the ball to D
  4. D shoots at goal scoring  


  • One point for each goal scored by strikers into the regulatory goal
  • One point for each goal scored by defenders into the small goals
  • Only defenders can score into the small goals
  • After the series the most points team wins
  • Goalkeepers can play with defenders using the feet on back passes
  1. If coach keeps one arm up and one down: players have to jump over a hurdle and pass under the other
  2. Limit the ball touches 
  3. Limit the action duration before shooting
Coaching Points
  • The cognitive exercise helps to recreate the match mental situation, with different external stimuli and restricted reaction timings
  • Impose complex sequences to encrease the exercise difficulty 
  • Use goals according to the class of players
  • Focus on reaction to negative transition, after losing the ball, the closest player presses the opponent while teammates get closer


  • During 1 vs 1 receive the ball oriented toward the goal
  • Maintain an attacking attitude: carrying quickly, passing or shooting
  • Identify the opponents weak side
  • Keep the ball under control close to the knee
  • Perform countermoves to confuse the defenders, without losing time


  • Stey between the opponents, the ball and the centre of the goal marking closer as the action becomes dangerous
  • Force the opponent to move towards the external sides of the field
  • Identify the opponents weak foot trying to influence movements and behaviour
  • Delay the ball carrier action facilitating the defenders
  • Choose the right timings for tackle to gain the ball

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