Grassroots Coaching



To improve players football fitness and to develop the players ability to create space for themselves, for team mates, to improve turning, dribbling and passing skills as well as to enhance communication skills. This practice will also help improve player’s ability to man mark, to pressure the ball, to prevent turning and to track runners defensively.


  • Mark out an area of 30 x 30 yards, on each side of the area mark out 4 x target areas of 15 x 10 yards.
  • Supply of footballs near the coach. Each time a ball goes out of play a ball should immediately be passed back onto the pitch so the practice continues without interruption
  • 4 x teams of 4 players. Play two teams of 4 v 4 in the main area and 4 target players in each of the four target areas. One team of 4 are resting.
  • Target players play with whatever team are in possession of the ball.
  • The players of each of the active teams are designated a player to man mark.
  • This is a very intensive practice for both teams and the players should only be actively involved for designated periods, between 1 – 4 minutes, before being rotated to become the resting or target team.
  • All area sizes and suggested times of the practice are flexible and can be adjusted to suit the age, ability and fitness levels of the players



  • The objective of the practice is for the team in possession to keep the ball for as long as possible. They can use the target players who can move anywhere in the target areas and must pass the ball back to the team in possession.
  • Each team must man mark a player from the opposition. Defensively they must try and stop their opposite number receiving the ball or pressurise them if they do receive the ball.
  • Neither players from the two active teams can enter the target areas and cannot challenge the target players.
  • If possession is lost then the teams roles are reversed



  • To be on the move, to communicate, to provide good support for the team in possession and to pass the ball accurately back to the team in possession



  • To work hard to create and find space for themselves and for team mates.
  • To keep possession of the ball for as long as possible
  • To protect the ball when they receive it.


  • To pass accurately to team mates and to the target players
  • To use turning, dribbling and running with the ball skills when appropriate.
  • To communicate with each other and the target players



  • To work hard to man mark their designated player
  • To pressure the ball and try and intercept or win the ball if possible. If they can’t intercept or win the ball then they should try and get as tight to their player as they can and try and restrict their passing, turning, dribbling or running with the ball options.





  • As player’s fitness levels improve, lengthen the time the teams are working on the pitch.
  • Reduce the number of players to 3 v 3

Man to man

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