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5 vs 3 + neutral player: Immediate recovery and transition

5 vs 3 + neutral player: Immediate recovery and transition

  • Sufficient markers to outline the field
  • Sufficient balls to ensure continuity
  • 7 vests (5 red and 2 green)
  • Playing area: 20x10 meters
  • Players: 12
  • Duration: 16 minutes
  • Series: 2 series of 6 minutes with 2 minutes of passive recovery among the series
Summary Secondary Objectives
Small sided game to train ball possession and recovery, working on transitions
Losing your marker, Short pass, Marking, Intercepting, 4 versus 3, Transitions

Form 2 adjacent squares 10x10 meters sized using the markers. Split the team into 2 groups of 5 players wearing vests. Inside one of the squares place 4 white players and 3 red. Inside the other square place 2 red players and 1 white. Two neutral players stay at each of the short sides of the rectangle (See picture). One white player starts with the ball.

  • The game starts with a ball possession 4 vs 3 that becomes a 5vs3 with the neutral players
  • The objective of the team with ball possession is to perform 10 consecutive passes in order to score 1 point
  • If defenders recover the ball they try to carry it as fast as possible to their square to score 1 point, they can play with the neutral player along the side of the opposite square (See picture)
  • When the team recovers the ball only two players can move back to their square and only 2 players from the opponent team can enter the square to recover the ball
  • If during possession, the team outnumbered makes the ball go out of the square, the coach can throw in another ball to keep on playing
  • At the end of the two series the most points wins


  • The neutral player can touch the ball maximum twice
  • A red player and a white one during possession must stay inside the opposite square
  • Every 10 consecutive passes teams score 1 point
Coaching Points
  • Create possession triangles to avoid the opponents leaving them in the center of the triangle
  • Work on reaction of the negative transition, once the player loses the ball, the closest player to the ball, presses the opponent while their teammates get closer
  • Work on the distances between players
  • Work on orientation of the body during the reception, it should always be opened to the widest part of the pitch
  • Encourage the touch and go: after playing the ball to a teammate, players keep running to an empty space an receive the ball again
  • The player that is closer to the one that possesses the ball must choose what to do, approaching or in depth move, activating consequently the movement of their teammates
  • Encourage players to perform the counter movement to lose the marker and consequent ball reception 
  • To accomplish a continuous mobility and keep the propper staggering, two close players who are on the same line either vertical or horizontal have to move, creating diagonal lines
  • Encourage defenders to read the opponents passing lines in order to recover the ball as fast as possible

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