Building Out Of The Back, Part 1

Can your team build from your goalkeeper through the defensive, midfield and final thirds and score a goal without the opposition touching the ball? Invest the time, increase your repetitions and watch it all come together!

Start with Part 1 below, which focuses on building from the defensive third into the midfield third and finishes with an 11v11 + 1 zonal game.  Part 2 will focus on building from the midfield third to the final third followed by an 11v11 +1 zonal game.

Activity #1

Set up:

Phase 1 – Building through the back-four (2,3,4,5) and the holding midfielder (6) without an opposition. Diagram shows a goal kick, GK plays short to the right central defender (4) who has pulled away from the mannequin, the #4 plays it back to the GK, GK plays a central ball to the holding midfielder (6) who has checked away from the mannequin at an angle, the #6 plays out of pressure to the left defender (3), the #3 finishes the buildup by playing the ball back to the coach. Continue Phase 1 with additional patterns for 15-20 minutes.

Building Out Of The Back, Part 1 |
Diagram A


Create as many game related scenarios for the GK to advance the ball out of the back. Different scenarios could include: goal kicks, the coach driving a ball into the box and GK builds from there, or #2 or 3 serves a cross into the box and GK builds from there. Must connect at least five passes before the ball is circulated back to the coach.

Coaching Points:

  • Recognizing the most appropriate option with the least amount of risk
  • Choosing the correct method and technique of the distribution
  • Realistic ball movement
  • Speed of play
  • Speed of thought

Activity #2:

Set up:

Phase 2 – 6v3 in defensive third – Building through the (2,3,4,5,6), the central midfielder (8) and attacking midfielder (10).

Building Out Of The Back, Part 1 |
Diagram B


Diagram shows the coach driving a ball into the GK’s hands, the GK plays short to the 4 who gives it back, the GK then switches the point of attack to the number 5 who finds the holding midfielder. The number 6 receives the ball on the half turn and plays wide to the number 3 who connects with a penetrating number 8. Must connect at least five passes in the defensive third before you can advance the ball to the number 8 or 10. Continue different scenarios for 15-20 minutes.

Coaching Points:

  • Breaking the opponent’s first line of pressure
  • Switching the point of attack
  • Good starting positions
  • Reading how and where the three attackers are pressing

Activity #3:

Set up:

Phase 3 – 9v5 (6v3 in defensive third and 4v2 in the midfield third).

Building Out Of The Back, Part 1 |
Diagram C


Diagram shows the GK playing short to the #5 who is under pressure and plays it back one touch, GK changes the point of attack with a long driven ball to #2.  The #2 lays it back to the #4 who breaks the line of pressure with a penetrating ball to the #6 on the fifth pass.  #6 turns and follows his pass into the midfield zone.  #10 lays it back to #6, out to the #8 who finds the neutral player and then back to the coach on the fifth pass.  Must connect five passes in the defensive third and then five passes in the midfield third before finding the coach.  Continue different scenarios for 15-20 minutes.

Coaching Points:

  • All previous coaching points
  • Finding the right opportunity to play into the midfield
  • Midfielders must open up the space and make the two defenders work defensively
  • Establish a strong buildup and relationship between the defenders and midfielders.

Activity #4:

Set up:

Final Phase – 11v11 + 1 Zonal Play, middle zone is 30×30 yards square. 21 field players plus 2 GKs.  2 x 10 minutes.

Building Out Of The Back, Part 1 |
Diagram D


Defensive zone is a 6v3 (GK, 2, 3, 4, 5 and the 6):

Must connect five passes before advancing the ball to the midfield zone.

Midfield zone is 4v2 (6, 8, 10 and the Neutral player):

The holding midfielder #6 joins the area making it a 4v2, five passes must be connected before playing either the 2 or 3 into space who eventually plays into the attacking third.

The attacking third is a 6v6 (2 or 3, 8, 10, 7, 9, 11) to goal:

Once the outside back (2 or 3) has penetrated forward in possession, an entry ball is played into one of the three attackers’ feet while the 10 and neutral player join the attack making it a 6v6 to goal. No touch restrictions in the final third. If a goal is scored or the ball goes out of play, a new ball is started with the opposing team’s GK building out the other direction.

Coaching Points:

  • Building out of the back
  • Maintaining possession in the midfield
  • Creating numbers up scenarios in the final third
  • Creating chances on goal
  • Player spacing in all zones
  • Good starting positions
  • Accurate passing
  • Recognizing appropriately when to build and when to penetrate