Grassroots Coaching

FA Level 3 Coaching Small Sided Games SUPPORT PLAY

This is an example of coaching a UEFA B, Level 3 Small Sided Game, Coach Support Play.


  • Play 8 v 8
  • Pitch area 70 x 50 yards
  • Pitch marked into thirds
  • Play off side – only in marked thirds area.
  • Suggested formation 3 – 2 – 2
  • Both teams to play realistically
  • Coach only one team
  • Coach through the units of the team
  • Use structured start points, but also let play develop and coach from what happens


  • The coach should always be in a position where they can see all of the play and all of the players.
  • The Coach should be prepared to move their position to be able to observe the play better.
  • The Coach can go on the pitch to coach, but must not get in way or interfere with play.
  • When stopping play to make a coaching point, get on the pitch quickly, make the coaching point and let play continue


  • Defensive and attacking responsibilities:
  • When a team are attacking, the coach should ensure they are aware of not only providing attacking options, but also have a defensive awareness of when the ball has been lost.
  • Similarly, when a team is defending, they should have an awareness of trying to counter attack when they gain possession.
  • When playing, the players have a responsibility to play realistically. This will help the session and assist the coach when coaching
  • Players should look to use common sense and course management when playing. For example, if the session involves the need for crosses, players should look to get the ball wide and players out wide should look to provide crosses from a variety of different positions


  • Remember the SSG will have a focus of a given topic, try and make coaching points that are relevant to the given topics
  • The coach can either use their observation skills, to identify when the ball is in an area of the pitch where they want to stop play, stop play and make their points.
  • Alternatively, the coach can use managed start points, where they have the ball in an area of the pitch, which allows them to make their coaching points.
  • Get on the pitch quickly, explain what you want. Recreate the scenario that you want to coach, with players and the ball in the right positions, so that a picture is painted
  • Demonstrate when the need arises. Ensure the opposition players react realistically to the coaching points made. Use a variety of appropriate coaching styles. Think…SPLASH, then …..RIPPLE.
  • Paint pictures for the players, give them visual ideas.


  • Playing through the units:
  • It is important that the play should be developed progressively through the units. In an attacking SSG topic, GK and defensive unit, then the midfield unit, then the forward unit, finally linking all 3 units together. In a defensive topic, mainly the reverse order is true, forwards, midfield, defence and GK, link all together

Coaching the topic:

  • A simple rule of thumb is that 70 – 80% of the session and play time should occur in the area where the topic of the session is primarily located and 20 – 30% of the play in developing play to get the ball to that area.
  • For example, combination play to finish. 70 – 80% of the play should be in and around the edge of the area and in shooting areas. 20 – 30% of the time and play in developing build up play to get the ball into this key area. This enables the topic of combination play to finish to be coached effectively.

Positive end result. Try and strive for an end product, cross, shot on goal or to defend effectively and break out with the ball towards the opposition goal

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Attacking Sessions Coach Education UEFA B