Small-Sided Game Variations

SoccerSpecific

Smaller numbers of players / Smaller spaces = increased number of ball contacts and actions for each player. We can say that small-sided games are an economical use of training time – game-related scenarios can be created under restrictions of reduced space/time with players facing realistic pressure from opponents.

As we stated in our previous installment of  ‘Small-Sided Game’ activities; when designing SSGs it is important to maintain and coach elements of your playing style; also to place players in functional groups (not simply say – “you 4 against you 4”) – Players must develop an understanding with their teammates (Communication verbal/non-verbal) within the team playing style therefore it is vital that players train together consistently.


Small-Sided Game Variations

1. 4v4+1 – EMPHASIS ON UTILISING ADVANTAGE TO MAINTAIN POSSESSION

Setup:

A 4v4+3 is organised as shown (Multiple playing areas can be organised to accommodate entire squad) Playing area has ‘end-zones’ (shaded in diagram).

Small-Sided Game Variations | SoccerSpecific.com
Diagram A

Instructions:

Play is started with a pass from the Coach (C) to either team. Team attempts to maintain possession through quick ball circulation and movement; emphasis is on looking to play forward at earliest opportunity.

To score. pass must be played to the Target (T) player; Target player must pass the ball back to oncoming support player who can score with 1 or 2 touch. Players are also encouraged to identify moments to break forward (pass /dribble) into the end zone = 1 goal.

Play is continuous.

Coaching Points:

  • Quick ball circulation + Movement – maintain possession until moment to attack end zone arises
  • Receiving under pressure in various scenarios: opponent in-front, opponent behind, opponent from the side, etc.
  • Understanding of the 1-man advantage.
  • Maintain possession but constantly look to break forward into end zone!

2. EMPHASIS ON PATIENT POSSESSION TO AWAIT CHANCES TO PLAY FORWARD

Setup:

A 5v5+1 is organised as shown (Multiple playing areas can be organised to accommodate entire squad) Playing area has ‘end-zones’ with mini goals at each end as shown.

Small-Sided Game Variations | SoccerSpecific.com
Diagram B

Instructions:

Play is started with a pass from the Coach (C) to either team. One Player from each team must remain in the end-zone; no opponent can enter this safety zone to apply pressure – Player must play max 2-touch in this zone.

Team attempts to maintain possession through quick ball circulation and movement. Players must look for opportunities to break forward into opponents end zone to score in the mini-goals.

Play is continuous.

Coaching Points:

  • Quick ball circulation + Movement – always look for opportunities to play penetrating pass into space
  • Utilise the 1-man advantage to maintain possession
  • Be positive in attack – always probe / look forward
  • Communication between teammates – Moment / Timing of runs into space + Moment / Timing of pass into space
  • Receiving under pressure in various scenarios: opponent in-front, opponent behind, opponent from the side, etc.

3. EMPHASIS ON POSSESSION TO CREATE SCORING CHANCES CENTRALLY + FROM WIDE AREAS (CROSSES)

Setup:

A 5v5+3 + 2Gks is organised as shown (Multiple playing areas can be organised to accommodate entire squad) Playing area has ‘end-zones’ with Full-sized goals.

Small-Sided Game Variations | SoccerSpecific.com
Diagram C

Instructions:

Play is started with a pass from Goalkeeper each time.  Team attempts to maintain possession through quick ball circulation and movement.

To score:

10 passes = 1 goal.
Goal from normal run of play = 1 goal
Goal from Cross ball = 3 goals

Goalkeepers are also utilised – passing/distribution with their feet is developed and encouraged.

Play is continuous.

Coaching Points:

  • Quick ball circulation + Movement – always look for opportunities to play forward
  • Utilise the 1-man advantage centrally + wide players
  • Utilise Goalkeeper to maintain possession
  • Goalkeeper must use 2-touch maximum
  • Communication between teammates – Moment / Timing of runs into space + Moment / Timing of pass into space
  • Quality of crosses – low / flighted etc
  • Receiving under pressure in various scenarios: opponent in-front, opponent behind, opponent from the side, etc.